Untangling the unwired : Wi-Fi and the cultural inversion of infrastructure.

Mackenzie, A. (2005) Untangling the unwired : Wi-Fi and the cultural inversion of infrastructure. Space and Culture, 8 (3). pp. 269-285. ISSN 1552-8308

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Cultural and social studies of technology have regarded infrastructure as less significant than the interfaces, devices, materials, and practices where processes of consumption, representation, attachment, embodiment, identification, and sociality are most visible. Infrastructural elements of new technologies usually remain in the background of analysis. What would it mean to invert the figure-ground relation between technology and "infrastructure"? Via a case study of an increasingly popular, everyday contemporary wireless networking technology, Wi-Fi, the author suggests that infrastructures have begun to figure as sites of cultural contestation. Infrastructures work as highly potentialized fields, triggering a multiplicity of interpretations. Using textual and ethno-graphic materials, the author suggests that rather than being the immobile grounds of technological cultures, different imaginings and practices of connectivity run through the many Wi-Fi projects, enterprises, and visions of the past 2 years. In seeking to understand these different imaginings of connectivity, the author suggests that contemporary infrastructures embody cultural logics at odds with each other.

Item Type:
Journal Article
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Space and Culture
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RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Sociology
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14 Mar 2008 15:56
Last Modified:
21 Nov 2022 20:09