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WiFi publics: defining community and technology at Montreal’s Île Sans Fil

Powell, Alison (2012) WiFi publics: defining community and technology at Montreal’s Île Sans Fil. In: Clement, Andrew, Gurstein, Michael and Longford, Graham, (eds.) Connecting Canadians: Investigations in Community Informatics. Athabasca University Press, Edmonton, Canada, pp. 202-217. ISBN 9781926836041

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Community Wi-Fi projects motivate volunteers to participate in building technology and working towards shared social goals. They also hold the potential to shift the provision of communications access away from corporate and towards more public interest models. This chapter discusses how these two modes of engagement, expressed through the social relations between community Wi-Fi activists as well as through the technologies they build, develop both communities and publics. It identifies a tension between the “geek publics” produced among the volunteers in community Wi-Fi projects, and the “community-publics” that proponents imagine will be created through more localized, democratized access to the internet. An earlier version of this chapter was published as Wi-Fi Publics: Producing Community and Technology” in Information, Communication and Society 8 (1068-1088).

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 The Editors
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1001 Canada (General)
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2010 08:45
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2021 23:04
Funders: Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF), Canada Council for the Arts, Government of Alberta, Alberta Multimedia Development Fund

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