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The Intersectional Internet

Race, Sex, Class, and Culture Online

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Edited By Safiya Umoja Noble and Brendesha M. Tynes

From race, sex, class, and culture, the multidisciplinary field of Internet studies needs theoretical and methodological approaches that allow us to question the organization of social relations that are embedded in digital technologies, and that foster a clearer understanding of how power relations are organized through technologies.
Representing a scholarly dialogue among established and emerging critical media and information studies scholars, this volume provides a means of foregrounding new questions, methods, and theories which can be applied to digital media, platforms, and infrastructures. These inquiries include, among others, how representation to hardware, software, computer code, and infrastructures might be implicated in global economic, political, and social systems of control.
Contributors argue that more research needs to explicitly trace the types of uneven power relations that exist in technological spaces. By looking at both the broader political and economic context and the many digital technology acculturation processes as they are differentiated intersectionally, a clearer picture emerges of how under-acknowledging culturally situated and gendered information technologies are impacting the possibility of participation with (or purposeful abstinence from) the Internet.
This book is ideal for undergraduate and graduate courses in Internet studies, library and information studies, communication, sociology, and psychology. It is also ideal for researchers with varying expertise and will help to advance theoretical and methodological approaches to Internet research.
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Chapter Thirteen: The Epidemiology of Digital Infrastructure

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CHAPTER THIRTEEN

The Epidemiology OF Digital Infrastructure

ROBERT MEJIA

 

INTRODUCTION

The field of media and cultural studies is in desperate need of an epidemiological turn. Though it has produced a handful of exemplary forays into the study of disease, the field as a whole has yet to produce a sustained branch of epidemiological analysis. Paula Treichler’s landmark text, How to Have a Theory in an Epidemic: Cultural Chronicles of AIDS, was published in 1999, and though one would hope that it would have served as a catalyst and model for a sustained and rigorous cultural analysis of disease, most of the work on the cultural study of disease has been produced outside the field of media and cultural studies. This is not to suggest that these works are lacking on the basis of their having been produced outside the field of media and cultural studies. Indeed, these works have advanced our understanding of the rhetorical production of medical character and trust (Keränen, 2010) and the epidemiological consequence of the outbreak narrative (Wald, 2007). And yet, these contributions likewise reflect the intellectual histories of their production and their origins in the disciplines of rhetoric and English, respectively. The absence of a sustained contribution from the field of media and cultural studies is a shame, for in spite of the contributions to a cultural analysis of epidemiology made by other fields, “unless we operate in this tension,...

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