[Air-L] 4S CfP - "Splinternets"

Oreglia, Elisa elisa.oreglia at kcl.ac.uk
Wed Feb 17 06:54:51 PST 2021

Dear colleagues,

To the many excellent 4S CFPs that have already been sent to the list, let us add one more.

Since its birth, the Internet has been viewed as a unifying force, building on a tradition of thinking about communication infrastructures that stretches at least as far back as McLuhan’s “global village” (1964). Yet the history of the Internet illustrates a series of struggles to control a multi-layered network, rather than a technologically-mediated unity. Analyses of these struggles have ranged from those focused on the role of states in controlling the open Internet (Kalathil and Boas 2003; Goldsmith and Wu 2006), to those drawing attention to the dangers of corporate “walled gardens” (Zittrain 2008; van Dijck, Poell, and de Waal 2018), to efforts at identifying geo-political spheres of influence on the Internet (O’Hara and Hall 2018). All of these analyses share a concern that rather than a unified global Internet, we might instead be dealing with a series of fragmented networks (Drake, Cerf, and Kleinwächter 2016; Mueller 2017), or “splinternets” (Malcomson 2016; Hoffmann, Lazanski, and Taylor 2020; Epifanova 2020).

In this panel, we seek papers that build on existing scholarship on fragmented internets to understand from a historical, social and technical perspective the centrifugal and centripetal forces that may change how the Internet works. We are particularly interested in work that unpicks images of split internets which conflate technical, political and commercial considerations, and in work that offers new theoretical, methodological, or empirical insights into current and historical relational processes of fragmentation and unification.

Organisers: Ashwin Mathew (King's College London) and Elisa Oreglia (King's College London)


For information about submission (open panel #167): https://www.4sonline.org/meeting/accepted-open-panels/

Feel free to contact Ashwin (ashwin.mathew at kcl.ac.uk) if you have any questions.

best regards,

Ashwin & Elisa

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