Lecture slides - Melbourne Social Equity Institute

Social Equity in a Post-Broadband
Society: Insights from Disability for
Technology-Enabled Citizenship
Gerard Goggin @ggoggin
Dept of Media & Communications
University of Sydney
public lecture for
Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society
Melbourne Social Equity Institute
University of Melbourne, 13 Nov 2014
idea of lecture
• how we imagine society and technology, and
especially technology-enabled citizenship
• and what does social equity look like in 2015,
in what we might term a ‘post-broadbandsociety’?
• Disability offers us important insights for a
new approach
Research for this lecture
• Lecture draws on various Australian Research
Council funded projects
• ARC Future Fellowship on disability, human
rights, and digital technology
• ARC Discovery project on Internet histories in
Australia and Asia Pacific
• ARC Discovery project on mobile Internet
our technological society
Most of us live in a
society, which
revolves around, is
shaped by, and is
even predicated on
wide view of technology
techniques, tools, systems, objects, artefacts,
infrastructures, networks
• planes, roads, bikes, strollers, wheelchairs
• garden & farm tools, milking machines, cheese
factories, solar power, coal seam gas
• health, medical & hospital technology,
pharmaceuticals, mobile health apps
• print, radio, TV, screen print, digital art &
design, Internet, mobiles, Internet of things
technology & citizenship
possibilities of our lives
intimacies we nurture &
ways that we exercise
citizenship in our
communities (locally,
nationally & internationally)
have a strong relationship
with technology
citizenship under
technological conditions
technology is how
we practice
technology is the
setting in which
citizenship is
Darrin Barney
Canadian political philosopher
imagining the good life
with technology
• Visions of the good life, the just, inclusive, and
genuinely participatory society, the economically
productive and efficient citizen, the democratic
polity, have for many decades been expressed
globally through how we imagine technology
• Australia has now generated its own distinctive
versions of such technology dispensations —
each featuring its own authorizing narratives,
particular new technology, and the reshaping of
accompanying social relations
Imagining the good life
with technology
• increasingly such strong ideas about technology
& social life - ‘social imaginaries’ (Charles Taylor)
of technology - are influential
(even when ideas about technology are really just a
way of working out social contradictions or
changing social & power relations; e.g. Technology
as ‘congealed social relations’ [Bruno Latour]
• In terms of the realities of tech & society (&
equity & democracy) technology-enabled
citizenship needs thinking about & doing – not
least to clarity what it means
some histories of imagining
technology & good life in Australia
Overland Telegraph
Wireless (radio) in Australia – AWA as public/private partnership (Jock Given)
public telephone system ‘clear across Australia’ (Ann Moyal, Clear Across Australia;
national numbering plan of 1959)
Telecom 2000
Digital Radio Concentrator Systems (DRCS) for rural telecommunications – Australians
as canny ‘inventors’, ‘adopters’, ‘tinkerers’
the information society
Commission for the Future (1985-1998)
technology in the counterculture (e.g. Aquarius festival, Nimbin, cf. 1973)
telecommunications competition and privatization
the rise of the Internet and media convergence
broadband dreaming (early 1990s to early 2010s)
the invention of WiFi (CSIRO; Katrina Jungnickel, DIY WiFi: Re-Imagining Connectivity)
mobile & social media & e-democracy & e-gov & m-gov
smart cities & the sensor society
the sharing economy
internet rights
19th century
did Overland
the NBN
online in the wilderness – early internet in
Northern NSW, with Pegasus, one of 1st ISPs
Ian Peter online at
Terania Creek
(Photo: Brian Alexander)
Broadband dreaming
1993-1995 - Broadband Services Expert Group, early 2000s - everyday
broadband becomes reality in many Australian households (shift from
dial-up); WiFi in households
2006 onwards – ‘broadband backwater’ -malaise of a poorly
networked nation
2006 onwards – mobile broadband, smartphones, tablets, apps
2008 – National Broadband Network (NBN)
2008 onwards – what to do with NBN? (learning to love/use the NBN; see Wilunga study
of Melissa Gregg & Jason Wilson; Michael Arnold, Bjorn Nansen, Rowan Wilken & Martin Gibbs’ Brunswick
2009 – filtering the NBN – the rise of Internet freedom & rights
2010 onwards – where does mobile fit into NBN (see Middleton & Given’s work)
2013 – Coalition’s NBN
2014+ - NBN as one big part of puzzle
post-broadband (bb) society
• The idea of broadband – its social imaginaries - in Australia has shifted
• Data capacity, capability, speed, infrastructure, connectivity – still crucially
• Access vital; still not delivered
• Not just one iconic infrastructure – NBN; but many
• Not just one device – PC or mobile – but many; mobile Internet is an
• IBES-funded research has been important in fleshing out this
understanding – e.g. Brunswick study
Arnold, M., Apperley, T., Nansen, B., Wilken, R., & Gibbs, M. 2014. 'Patchwork Network: Spectrum
Politics, The Digital Home, and Installation of the National Broadband Network', in J. Choudrie
and C. Middleton (eds), Management of Broadband Technology Innovation, New York, Routledge:
• but, with the range of digital technologies – especially various forms of
mobile Internet – it’s worth thinking about how we imagine technologyenabled citizenship in a post-broadband (dreaming) society
Post bb – mobile Internet, for
• Smartphones, mobile broadband, apps, game consoles,
locative media, social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, QQ,
Weibo) that span mobiles & Internet
• Face of Internet is being reshaped in the global south – where
mobile Internet is reflex, first way to access Internet
Gitau, Shikoh, Marsden, Gary, & Donner, Jonathan. (2010). After access – Challenges facing mobile-only internet
users in the developing world. Proceedings of the 28th international conference on human factors in computing
systems (CHI 2010) (pp. 2603-2606). New York: ACM
Jonathon Donner, The mobile internet and inclusion in the developing world, MIT Press, forthcoming
• Reveals that we need to think ‘after access’ – the different gradations &
modalities of pricing & affordability, affordances/capabilities of devices,
contexts of use, literacy, languages, and so on
• Work of Catherine Middleton on mobiles & consumers in Canada shows
many of the kinds of issues that need to be addressed as part of fairness in
marketplace – but simply aren’t
• An important Australian study that raises these issues in Justine
Humphrey’s ACCAN funded study on homelessness – shows homeless as
big mobile Internet users, but struggle with cost, power for charging, &
range of issues – see Homeless and Connected (2014)
Disability insights for post bb society
• Disability is multi-faceted area of social identity,
embodiment, lived experience, social & cultural
participation, democracy & social justice
• Disability & digital technology is crucial area
• Often thought to be about access (in narrow
sense) – e.g. web accessibility (important; not yet
delivered – e.g. current Coles website
accessibility human rights complaint
Disability insights for post bb society
• Yet disability ‘after access’ is much richer, more
• Involves design & innovation
• Involves affordability
• Involves participatory policy
• Technology could be enabling (e.g. ‘m-enabling’
• New provisions of UN Conventions on Rights of
Persons with Disability extend our ideas about
technology-enabled citizenship & rights
‘States Parties shall take all appropriate
measures to ensure that persons with
disabilities can exercise the right to freedom of
expression and opinion, including the freedom
to seek, receive and impart information and
ideas on an equal basis with others and through
all forms of communication of their choice…
(CRPD, UN, 2006, Article 21)
a. Providing information intended for the general
public to persons with disabilities in accessible
formats and technologies appropriate to different
kinds of disabilities in a timely manner and without
additional cost;
b. Accepting and facilitating the use of sign
languages, Braille, augmentative and alternative
communication, and all other accessible means,
modes and formats of communication of their choice
by persons with disabilities in official interactions …
d. Encouraging the mass media, including providers
of information through the Internet, to make their
services accessible to persons with disabilities; (CRPD,
UN, 2006, Article 21)
Disability –
technology in everyday life
• After/beyond Access to tech
– reasons to suggest access remains major problem
– meanings of access need to be thought about/discussed in their
complexity, especially when it comes to design
• Accessibility of tech
– bound up with access; also a major, ongoing problem
– e.g. web accessibility is perhaps the best known area of effort &
policy (e.g. National Transition Strategy) – yet many govt & private
websites remain inaccessible; and mobile web/device accessibility
of websites is still not a major goal
– a key issue is the proliferation of technology, devices, software,
etc; this implies that accessible interfaces are crucial, as a
translation zone between technology (e.g. accessible operating
systems like the Apple OS on its computers, smartphones, and
blog, 1
May 2014
Problems: everyday technology
• Disability still an ‘add-on’ in much technology;
inclusive design approaches still have a long
way to go
• the technology market has been remarkable,
but the ‘business’ of technology for disability
often lacks (perceived) profitability
• Business cultures still often lack in
understanding opportunity for disability
disability tech policy framework:
current elements
• Community informatics, technology in civil society –
responsibility: NGOs, peak bodies, limited govt &
private funding
• Statistics & research – little systematic & publicly
available responsibility: Australian Institute of Health
and Welfare; agencies (esp. now NDIS); regulators (e.g.
ACMA – Aust Communications & Media Authority);
NGOs providing much (e.g. ACCAN – Aust
Communications Consumer Action Network, Media
Access) also industry associations
• Social media platforms – responsibility: social media
companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google
Disability tech policy framework
• Innovation policy
-- is existing national policy adequate?
- What are specific disability aspects to innovative?
(e.g. case of Google Glass) – what can economic
incentives to innovative with disability &
technology, esp. for social policy purposes?
- What are new business models underpinning
wearables or driverless cars? – where does
disability/accessibility fit into/get supported
by these?
Disability tech policy framework
• The disability design turn – design as crosscutting area of focus for disability, justice,
participation – doing diversity differently
– Graham Pullin, Disability Meets Design (MIT, 2009)
– Jos Boys, Doing Disability Differently (Routledge,
– Catherine Bridge (UNSW)’s work
Disability insights for
post broadband tech citizenship
• Comprehensive and articulated across major
policy areas & life domains for technology
– UN CRPD good starting point
• Cross-referenced against, articulated via, social
policy objectives
• Proper research base and statistics on
technology & disability
• Support for inclusive design approaches
• Important of co-design, participatory design,
users involvement in design
Katie Ellis, Gerard Goggin & Beth Haller eds., Routledge
Companion to Disability and Media, 2016
Katie Ellis and Gerard Goggin. ‘Disability, Locative Media, and
Complex Ubiquity.’ In Ubiquitous Computing, Complexity and Culture,
edited by Ulrik Ekman et al (Routledge, 2015)
Katie Ellis & Gerard Goggin. Disability and the Media (Palgrave,
Gerard Goggin. ‘Disability, Digital Technology, and
Communication Rights: Another Legacy of the World Summit
on the Information Society (WSIS)?’, forthcoming
Gerard Goggin, ‘Disability and Mobile Internet’, forthcoming
Gerard Goggin. ‘Innovation & Disability.’ M/C: Media and Culture 11.3
Gerard Goggin and Christopher Newell. ‘The Business of
Digital Disability.’ The Information Society 24.2 (2007): 159-168.
Further reading
Gerard Goggin, Mark McLelland, Haiqing Yu, & Kwangsuk Lee et al. Asia
Pacific Internets: Culture, History, Technology, forthcoming
Gerard Goggin & Mark McLelland, eds. Global Internet Histories (Routledge, 2016)
Gerard Goggin, Global Mobile Media (Routledge, 2011)
Goggin, Gerard. “Mobile Web 2.0: . In Theories of the Mobile
Internet: Materialities and Imaginaries, edited by Jan Hadlaw, Andrew
Herman, and Thom Swiss. New York: Routledge, 2015, 134-148.
Gerard Goggin & Christopher Newell, Digital Disability: The Social
Construction of Disability in New Media (2003, Rowman & Littlefield)
Katie Ellis and Gerard Goggin. ‘Disability, Locative Media, and Complex
Ubiquity.’ In Ubiquitous Computing, Complexity and Culture, edited by Ulrik Ekman et al (Routledge, 2015)
Katie Ellis & Gerard Goggin. Disability and the Media (Palgrave, 2015)
Gerard Goggin. ‘’Communication Rights and Disability Online: Policy and
Technology after the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)”,
Information, Communication & Society, forthcoming
Gerard Goggin, ‘Disability and Mobile Internet’, forthcoming
Katie Ellis, Gerard Goggin & Beth Haller eds., Routledge Companion to
Disability and Media, forthcoming

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