Sangeet KumarMay 10, 2022
The Digital Frontier
Infrastructures of Control on the Global Web
Indiana University Press 2021
In The Digital Frontier: Infrastructures of Control on the Global Web (Indiana University Press, 2021), Sangeet Kumar interrogates the world wide web and the digital ecosystem has spawned to reveal how its conventions, protocols, standards, and algorithmic regulations represent a novel form of global power. Kumar shows the operation of this power through the web's "infrastructures of control" visible at sites where the universalizing imperatives of the web run up against local values, norms, and cultures. These include how the idea of the "global common good" is used as a ruse by digital oligopolies to expand their private enclosures, how seemingly collaborative spaces can simultaneously be exclusionary as they regulate legitimate knowledge, how selfhood is being redefined online along with Eurocentric ideals, and how the web's political challenge is felt differentially by sovereign nation-states.
In analysing this new modality of cultural power in the global digital ecosystem, The Digital Frontier is an important read for scholars, activists, academics and students inspired by the utopian dream of a truly representative global digital network.
Rituparna Patgiri, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi. She has a PhD in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. Her research interests lie in the areas of food, media, gender and the public. She is also one of the co-founders of Doing Sociology. Patgiri can be reached at @Rituparna37 on Twitter.