intentional infrastructures: feminist principles of the internet and community networks

This edition brings back the conversation to its roots. To the essence of the reasons behind our desire to connect ourselves and each other. It sheds light on who the unconnected are and dispels the myth of the underserved as powerless and in need of saving. It brings back power to the endless creative possibilities of communities that seek self-determination. It offers a closer look at the beauty of what communities around the world are producing to resist the uniformity of the greedy systems that are engulfing the planet and threatening our horizons.

The published pieces attempt to reflect the many tongues and modes of communication that women resort to while performing their skilled labour in creating, sustaining and building community networks. They offer an insight into the women whose “work” cannot be distinguished from their “life” as community organizers, articulators, policy makers, and engineers. We invite you to take a closer look at the realities of the women who are working for and with their communities through enabling, weaving, sustaining installing, running and advocating for autonomous connectivity. Women who are creating safer spaces for each other through coming together to reclaim sidewalks, landscapes and technologies. We also witness the relations that are woven between women.

In this edition, we use a collage of expressive methods that come through as reflective pieces, photo essays, podcasts, illustrations and interviews and hope that this will help paint a nuanced image of the magnitude of the complexities of the women who are doing work with community networks. We dedicate this edition to system administrators, weavers, articulators and technologists – working for their agency, their families, their ancestral lands, to women who make sure everyone is cared for. To the women who wake up at 5 am to cook for their families before heading to community councils. Those who install and maintain networks. To those whose languages are not supported on clouds, those whose mystical designs are woven on cloth as well as technology.

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Editorial

Women-circles that hold and ground community networks

cynthia el khoury &
KathleenDiga

What is the potential overlap between the energies and drive towards building a feminist internet and the growth of community networks in different parts of the world where communities build their own infrastructure and connectivity? In this article, we explore the ways in which community networks question gender norms, and the need for feminists to build infrastructure.

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New age women: Women and their approach towards internet connectivity in rural India

Availability and affordability of the internet have a major impact on whether women are able to access and use the internet. In this article we explore what happens when community networks bring the internet closer to women and the small and big ways in which this changes their lives.

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Community networks and feminist infrastructure: reclaiming local knowledge and technologies beyond connectivity solutions

What is feminist infrastructure? Our lives are determined now by technology and especially data and surveillance. How can we undermine the existing technological hegemony and rebuild infrastructures that accommodate different realities and needs through community networks?

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Weaving a Community Together – From Grassroots to Tech

A photo essay of a community network and the women working at the radio station and using the community network located just at the outskirts of Bangalore in India.

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News about our community network – Portal sem Porteiras

In this layered podcast, the members of Portal sem Porteiras, Marcela and Luisa explore their excitement over the possibilities of their community network and how they are re-finding meaning and solace in connections. 

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Our routes: women's node - an illustrated journey of women in community networks

In this beautifully etched illustration we follow the stories of various women who are working in community networks and their journeys with technology, autonomy and self-realisation. 

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Community networks for raising awareness of women's rights: Interview with Chako Armant

In this interview with Chako Armant who researches and works on a community network on the island of Idjwi in DRC, she talks about running a community network while there is ongoing uncertainty and conflict, and how they are addressing norms around gender and technology.

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Privileging the social over the technical in community networks: Interview with Sol Luca De Tena

Zenzeleni, which means ‘do it yourself’ in isiXhosa, has become exemplary of the unique challenges and remarkable successes of a community network in the global south. In this interview, Sol Luca de Tena discusses how the cooperative business model for Zenzeleni has evolved to center community needs and priorities.

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[Edicion especial]El espectro femenino en ámbitos regulatorios

La autora se ha  involucrado en la regulación de las telecomunicaciones, para encontrar sinergias entre diferentes visiones. Como mujer, no le ha sido fácil participar en las conversaciones. El sector de las telecomunicaciones suele ser complicado, poco amigable y excluyente.

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[Edición especial] Nodos y radios en las infraestructuras comunitarias

Una red comunitaria en Brasil, con 12 nodos y radios, da sustento a una infraestructura que permite poner en circulación información propia y sustentar una interesante red local campesina.

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[Edición especial]Cooperativas para la reapropiación sustentable de tecnologías y redes de comunicación

La Coalición de Trabajadores de Tecnología, organiza a trabajadores y trabajadoras denunciando condiciones laborales, específicamente el acoso sexual y la explotación laboral dentro de las empresas de internet y denuncian las agresiones contra las comunidades, negras, indígenas y de migrantes.

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[Edición especial] Un debate tecnopolítico sobre el realismo mágico de las redes comunitarias

Descolonizar infraestructuras y antenas, la autogestión como camino. Pero seguimos arriesgando autonomía. Un debate tecnopolítico que las feministas continuaremos agitando.

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[Edición especial] Mujeres rurales en el despliegue de redes celulares y de acceso a internet

Mujeres rurales participan activamente en el despliegue de redes celulares y de una red de contenidos locales y de acceso a internet para alcanzar a comunidades en zonas de difícil acceso en en interior colombiano.