Urban change and the mesh: an ethnography of Deptford’s Open Wireless Network

Cardullo, Paolo. 2017. Urban change and the mesh: an ethnography of Deptford’s Open Wireless Network. In: Giorgia Aiello; Matteo Tarantino and Kate Oakley, eds. Communication and the City. Bern: Peter Lang, pp. 97-112. ISBN 9781433137518 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

This chapter engages in a trans-disciplinary discussion on urban wireless networks. It presents findings from my longitudinal participant observation of Open Wireless Network (OWN), a Wi-Fi mesh network in Deptford, inner-city London, as well as of the related 'Wireless Wednesday' workshops. It wants to do two things, while narrating some of the dense exchange I had with users, owners, and developers of the network. It firstly makes visible, on the ground, the socio-technical context in which taken-for-granted wireless works. It then investigates the inherent paradox at the centre of urban mesh networks: between localised tactics of connectedness—always in the geographically limited range of the wireless reach—and the anonymity implied by mesh networking, which the city of strangers massively expands. What does it mean for its members and developers to participate to an anonymous but open network? What are the possibilities and limitations of such an engagement in these rapidly changing neighbourhoods?

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Date Deposited:

11 Jan 2016 22:55

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:16



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