Contesting Digital Futures: Urban Politics, Alternative Economies, and the Movement for Technological Sovereignty in Barcelona
AuthorLynch, Casey R.
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Sch Geog & Dev
MetadataShow full item record
CitationLynch, C. R. (2019). Contesting Digital Futures: Urban Politics, Alternative Economies, and the Movement for Technological Sovereignty in Barcelona. Antipode.
Rights© 2019 The Author. Antipode © 2019 Antipode Foundation Ltd.
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AbstractScholars have offered important critiques of the socio‐spatial processes of contemporary technological development, including the rise of “smart city” urban development models. While these critiques have been essential for understanding contemporary forms of techno‐capitalism and their reach into new areas, this paper calls for a consideration of alternative modes of digital development in urban life beyond the logics of securitisation and capital accumulation. In particular, I examine the critical discourses and experimental practices of a grassroots movement focused on claiming “technological sovereignty” (TS) in Barcelona. The TS movement is a broad, de‐centralised network of cooperatives, associations, and community initiatives experimenting with alternative practices of locally rooted, open‐source digital development. These groups explore democratic and cooperative practices of work, property, production, and consumption in relation to digital technology, based around an ethics of care and a commitment to working through and within local communities. In examining the values, beliefs, and practices of the TS movement, I bring ongoing discussions around digitalisation and the “smart city” into critical conversation with the extensive literature on prefigurative urban politics and postcapitalist economies.
Note12 month embargo; first published: 12 March 2019
VersionFinal accepted manuscript
SponsorsThis research received funding from the Wenner‐Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Social Science Research Council DPDF Program, and a Fulbright US Student Award.