Why do i put myself through such pain and agony! The thing is on its way! Long winded as usual, overabitious, could be tighter, the material could more integrated and there are most probably some wonky sentences! But alas! This part is done and next week I defend!
Here is the abstract!
Discuss and Critically Assess Community Built Communication Infrastructures as Possible Solutions for Contested Territories: With Nagaland and its Environs as a Case Study.
By: Tracey P. Lauriault June 25, 2008
Infrastructures have traditionally been built by experts, politicians, technocrats and entrepreneurs with little or no input by citizens or understanding of the values embedded within them nor the context within which they are constructed. Communication infrastructures like transportation, water, and power infrastructure are complex social, cultural and technological systems found in all human habitats. Humans communicate and have developed communications, media and infrastructures to transmit information, knowledge and stories. The infrastructure and the stories it technologically mediates is an agent in the creation of a community’s collective consciousness, archive, and imagination. These communications can assist with maintaining community cohesiveness, a shared identity and forming a social space. Community communication networks / infrastructures (CCN/Is) are emerging as significant grassroots technosocial movements worldwide. These can be a Wireless Local Area Network, a sneaker net, or a fully connected Internet mesh network. Irrespective of the infrastructure’s architecture, CCIs are community created and maintained. CCIs often consciously and sub-consciously embed local, social, cultural and political values in the technological and social infrastructures being constructed. The expertise, commitment of members, the spirit of open source coding, hacker/tinkerer ethic and free culture associated with these and the unique mix of citizens involved, combined with the propagation of knowledge, support, and inexpensive technology is quite unique and characteristic of the Web 2.0 ethos. Infrastructures are complex social, technical and culturally specific artifacts that are shaped by and in turn shape societies. It is suggested that citizens can be active agents in the creation and maintenance of as opposed to passive recipients of infrastructures. It is argued that the social and technological innovations of CCIs, relatively easy access to ad hoc yet very powerful networks of experts and literature combined with the ability to build low cost solutions for a variety of contexts may provide people living in contested territories with the means to construct their own communication infrastructures as part of pre-existing information ecologies, social spaces, local knowledge and physical geographies. The research approach is for this paper is analogous to Activist scholarship, positioned objectivity and experiential learning. Nagaland is the contested territory investigated.