Gaps and bumps in the political history of the internet

I have a new paper out at the Internet Policy Review. It is based on a personal experience but it is also meant as an introduction to the political historiography of the Internet (the full list of references is here, and an extended version of the bibliography is available in this bibtex file).

Here is the abstract:

In the past years, there has been a growing scholarly attention given to “digital rights contention”, that is political conflicts related to the expansion or restriction of civil and political rights exerted through, or affected by, digital communications technologies. Yet, when we turn to history to inform contemporary debates and mobilisations, what we often find are single-sided narratives that have achieved iconic status, studies focusing on a handful of over-quoted contentious episodes and generally over-representing North America, or scattered accounts that have so far escaped the notice of internet researchers. How can we explain these gaps in internet histories? How can we go about overcoming them to build a more fine-grained understanding of past socio-legal struggles around human rights in the context of media and communications? This essay calls for advancing the political history of the internet in order to empower scholars, activists and citizens alike as they address current (and future) controversies around internet politics.

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