Building a Global Sense of Place: The Community Networking Movement in the United States

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Urban Geography






Community networks help build place-based community by offering individual citizens and organizations access to the Internet, the ability to post information online, and opportunities to discuss community affairs. Community networks are inspired by a dynamic vision of community that incorporates a global sense of place. A global sense of place is valuable because it helps to illuminate a place's connections with the world and may therefore enable scale-jumping forms of activism. This article analyzes interviews with participants in four U.S. community networks to explore how networks combine a politics of mobility, a politics of access, and a politics of place to construct a global sense of place. The degree to which each network emphasizes mobility, access, and place varies. This variation has implications for both community activism and issues of diversity in community. Networks that fail to link mobility, access, and place may increase, rather than decrease, inequalities in access to electronic communications as well as to forms of political power.

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