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Localizing the internet beyond communities and networks

May 22, 2008
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Postill, J. (2008). Localizing the internet beyond communities and networks. New Media & Society, 10(3), 413-431.

As the numbers of internet users worldwide continue to grow, the internet is becoming `more local’. This article addresses the epistemological challenge posed by this global process of internet localization by examining some of the conceptual tools at the disposal of internet researchers. It argues that progress has been hampered by an overdependence on the problematic notions of community and network whose paradigmatic status has yet to be questioned by internet scholars. The article seeks to broaden the conceptual space of internet localization studies through a ground-up conceptualization exercise that draws inspiration from the field theories of both Pierre Bourdieu and the Manchester School of Anthropology, and is based on recent fieldwork in suburban Malaysia. This exploration demonstrates that a more nuanced understanding of the plural forms that residential sociality can take is needed in order to move beyond existing binaries such as `network sociality’ versus `community sociality’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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