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    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Infrastructures in Practice on 17/09/2018, available online: https://www.routledge.com/Infrastructures-in-Practice-The-Dynamics-of-Demand-in-Networked-Societies/Shove-Trentmann/p/book/9781138476165

    Accepted author manuscript, 727 KB, PDF document

    Available under license: CC BY-NC: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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Unleashing the internet: The normalisation of wireless connectivity

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter

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Abstract

This chapter explores the processes by which infrastructures and practices change together. It asks how Wi-Fi became the most normal way to access the internet at the same time as internet use itself has become so necessary to everyday life. It presents an account which focuses on the home and charts the role of Wi-Fi in the shift from desktop PCs and emerging broadband connections to multiple, mobile, personal and always-on internet access through laptops, smartphones and tablets. This suggests that the home has been an important ‘normalisation junction’, where shifting configurations, expectations and experiences have been endemic to the making of wireless internet use, even beyond the home. Yet far from being settled, the richness by which wireless connectivity has become embedded within multiple configurations of practices, devices and infrastructures also appears as a source of flux. It is as if the obduracy, and necessity, of wireless connectivity depends just as much on ongoing adaptations as it does on arrangements that have stabilised. This ongoing making of wireless infrastructures-in-use is referred to as ‘dynamic normalisation’.

Bibliographic note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Infrastructures in Practice on 17/09/2018, available online: https://www.routledge.com/Infrastructures-in-Practice-The-Dynamics-of-Demand-in-Networked-Societies/Shove-Trentmann/p/book/9781138476165