Book of the Day: Rise of the Network Commons

  • Book (upcoming). The Rise of the Network Commons. By Armin Medosh.




Armin Medosh:

“The Rise of the Network Commons is the working title of a new book which I am currently writing. It returns to the topos of the wireless commons on which I worked during the early 2000s. In this new version, combining original research from my German book Freie Netze (2004) and new research conducted in the context of the EU funded project Confine, the exciting world of wireless community network projects such as and Freifunk, Berlin, gets interspersed with philosophical reflections on the relationship between technology, art, politics and history.”


So far .. (November 2014):

  • The Rise of the Network Commons, Chapter 1 (draft)
  • Network Commons: dawn of an idea (Chapter 1, part 2 – Draft) [1]
  • Consume the Net: The Internationalisation of an Idea (chapter 2, part 1, draft) [2]
  • Fly Freifunk Fly! (Chapter 2, part 2, draft) [3]


Technologies are socially produced

Armin Medosh:

“The relatively young discipline of Science Studies teaches us that the technical and the social cannot or should not be considered as categorically separated. Technologies are “socially produced” is one of the key phrases in the discourse of science studies. They are not existing outside the human world but are the product of specific societies which exist under specific conditions and circumstances. Technologies are hybrids between nature and society, as science studies author Bruno Latour puts it. Moreover, a specific school of science studies, the Social Construction of Technological Systems (SCTS) has studied the co-evolution of large technological systems and social structures. SCTS pioneer Thomas P. Hughes, who studied the building of the first nationwide electrical grid, has found that there are strong co-dependencies between technological and social systems. While there is undeniably a strong influence on the shaping of technologies exerted by business interests, Hughes’ work emphasizes co-dependencies between technologies and the people who build and maintain them, the technologists or techies – a term I will use from now on because it allows to refer to both academic computer scientists and researchers and autodidactic hackers, whereby I hope my use of the term is not seen as derisive in any way.

Engineers and skilled workers involved in large technological projects bring certain predispositions to projects; as projects evolve, the communities of techies develop certain habits and ways of working. The technological and social system build a unity which determines the ways how those technologies evolve in the future. What we can learn from science studies is that neither is science objective (in the strict sense of the word), nor is technology neutral. To believe the opposite would either constitute scientific objectivism – a rather outdated form of scientific positivism – and technological determinism, which is the belief that technology alone is the main factor shaping social developments.” (

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