Casey Lynch

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Arizona, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9421

Approve Date

April 18, 2017

Project Title

Lynch, Casey R., U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid research on 'Technosocial Entanglements and Contested Urban Futures: Producing Space, Citizens, and Economies in the Technological City,' supervised by Dr. Vincent Del Casino

Preliminary abstract: With the rapid development of new digital technologies, cities are increasingly critical sites of techno-social experimentation and transformation. Through ‘smart city’ initiatives, city governments around the world are partnering with transnational technology firms to deeply integrate digital technology into everyday urban spaces. At the same time, emerging forms of digitally-mediated ‘platform capitalism,’ represented by Airbnb and Uber, are dramatically disrupting existing economic, political and socio-spatial relations across urban contexts. In opposition to these trends, citizens’ initiatives in Barcelona, Spain are organizing around calls for ‘technological sovereignty,’ radically rethinking existing models of urban development by claiming community control over emerging digital technology. My ethnographic dissertation asks: Why is the development and control of digital technology becoming a particularly active site of contestation over the future of urban life? What opportunities and challenges exist for building counter-hegemonic techno-urban projects? This research makes needed interventions in literature from political and urban geography, science and technology studies, and related disciplines around the exercise of power in the smart city, techno-politics and the right to the city, and the relationship between emerging digital technologies and alternative urban political economies. Beyond this, my dissertation contributes to anthropological knowledge more broadly by critically interrogating ongoing global processes of technological change and urbanization, these processes’ imbrications in extensive and complex systems of power, and their effects on the lived experiences of individuals and communities.