The global web and its digital ecosystem can be seen as tools of emancipation, communication, and spreading knowledge or as means of control, fueled by capitalism, surveillance, and geopolitics. The Digital Frontier interrogates the world wide web and the digital ecosystem it has spawned to reveal how their conventions, protocols, standards, and algorithmic regulations represent a novel form of global power. Sangeet Kumar shows the operation of this power through the web's "infrastructures of control" visible at sites where the universalizing imperatives of the web run up against local values, norms, and cultures. These include how the idea of the "global common good" is used as a ruse by digital oligopolies to expand their private enclosures, how seemingly collaborative spaces can simultaneously be exclusionary as they regulate legitimate knowledge, how selfhood is being redefined online along Eurocentric ideals, and how the web's political challenge is felt differentially by sovereign nation states.
In analyzing this new modality of cultural power in the global digital ecosystem, The Digital Frontier is an important read for scholars, activists, academics and students inspired by the utopian dream of a truly representative global digital network.
1. Infrastructures of Control
Sangeet Kumar is Associate Professor of Media Studies in the Communication Department at Denison University where he teaches and conducts research in the global dimensions of digital media platforms and culture. He also serves as the Director of the International Studies program at Denison. Prior to his academic career he briefly worked as a journalist with a leading Indian daily in New Delhi, India.
"Finally here is a truly global perspective on digital media technologies. Sangeet Kumar's The Digital Frontier offers a much needed comprehensive analysis of technological infrastructures that undergird the cultural architecture of the Web while making sense of the geopolitical contests played out over these technologies. Kumar's work is original and inspiring: an eye-opener for students and scholars of the internet."—José van Dijck, professor of media and digital society and author of The Culture of Connectivity and The Platform Society, Utrecht University
"Sangeet Kumar takes us beyond the lazily Americanist vision of most internet studies. With a deep imagination for fresh critiques and savvy eye for compelling case studies, he reveals the vexed entanglements of freedom and control on the web from the geopolitical vantage point of the global south."—John Durham Peters, author of The Marvelous Clouds and Promiscuous Knowledge, Professor of English, Film and Media Studies at Yale University