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CFP: ICTs and Community Networking

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Call for Papers

Special Issue on "Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) and Community Networking"

The Information Society

Guest Editor: Murali Venkatesh
Community & Information Technology Institute
School of Information Studies
Syracuse University
Syracuse New York 13244

Manuscripts due: January 15, 2002

Even as the term "movement" is beginning to be applied to ICT-supported community networking to characterize an emergent body of concerns in the research and practitioner communities worldwide, the terms "community", "community network" and "community networking", and their relationship, are in need of clarification and definition. As a working definition, community networking refers to the process by which a community-focused technological system (an ICT-supported community network) develops and evolves in a geographically anchored, physical community. This special issue is interested in several aspects of this process, both as they relate to the development and evolution of the community network and of the idea of community itself. Although we are especially concerned in this special issue with the developmental process, research reports on outcomes from use of such networks in communities would be of interest as well.

There is a growing body of research on the consequences of the structuring and use of community networks on communication patterns, social relations, and collective action. This research is valuable and necessary. The process by which an ICT-supported community network is planned, designed, and implemented in a community has attracted relatively less critical attention. How and where does the idea of such a network originate in a community? How do residents and institutions mobilize around the idea, and why? Who participates and who does not in different aspects of its development, and why? ICT-supported community networks can be powerful agents of community networking. As with technologies in general, they are shaped by social, political and economic choices. Such choices "are part of the history of a.system and are embedded in the social structure which support its (the technology's) development and use" (Iacono & Kling, 1988). The term community networking highlights the process, and the play of social, political and economic systems and interests therein, which shapes these choices in a community. These choices, in turn, can have beneficial or detrimental (intended and unintended) consequences for community building and the idea of community.

This special issue invites papers that offer nuanced description and analysis of ICT-supported community networking projects in communities worldwide. Papers on all forms of technologically-mediated community networking are welcome, ranging from development and use of telecenters in the developing world to so-called next generation community networking initiatives, featuring, among others, broadband telecommunications technologies and/or localnets (Serra, 2000) - locally-focused segments of the Internet.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to

Submissions may consider these and related issues from social science, philosophical, public policy and interdisciplinary perspectives. Submissions may be conceptual or empirical, and may employ quantitative, qualitative or case study approaches. We invite contributions both from researchers and practitioners. Submissions that relate findings and arguments to existing theory, or that clearly delineate implications for the development and refinement of theory, are strongly encouraged.

We encourage prospective authors to become familiar with TIS and to discuss possible articles with the Special Issue editor. Authors may email an abstract (1,500 words) to the Special Issue editor for comments. Deadline for receiving abstracts is October 30, 2001.

Manuscript guidelines and a list of the titles and abstracts of articles published in TIS can be found on the journal's web site. Papers will be subject to the normal review process of The Information Society, and should follow the standard guidelines for submission to the journal. See information for authors at:

Please note in your submission letter that you want your manuscript to be reviewed for the Special Issue on "ICTs and Community Networking".

If you have questions or suggestions regarding the special issue, please correspond directly with the issue editor, Murali Venkatesh at


Iacono, S., and Kling, R. (1988). Computer systems as institutions: Social dimensions of computing in organizations. In J. I. DeGross & M.H. Olson (Eds.), Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), Minneapolis, MN.

Serra, A.(2000). Next Generation Community Networking: Futures for Digital Cities. In T. Ishida & K. Isbister (Eds.), Digital Cities: Technologies, experiences, and future perspectives. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 1765, Springer-Verlag.

Special Issue Editorial Team

Murali Venkatesh, Special Issue Editor
Peter Day, University of Brighton, U.K.
Fiorella De Cindio, University of Milan, Italy
Ceasar McDowell, MIT
Randal Pinkett, Ph.D. student, MIT Media Lab
Doug Schuler, Evergreen State College

Editorial Assistance

Dong Hee Shin, Ph.D., student, IST
Richard Southwick, Ph.D., student, IST

The Information Society is edited by Dr. Rob Kling, Indiana University

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Last updated: September 18, 2001 in Hot Metal Pro 6.0