Kira Allmann is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Media Law and Policy at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies. Her current research examines how different internet ownership models enable or curtail the realization of fundamental human rights. Her work explores how communities at the margins of the web create innovative solutions to achieve internet access, challenging the corporate and state ownership models of internet provision. Working with community networks — built, administered, and maintained by local communities — Kira's research interrogates alternative infrastructural, regulatory, and political answers to the digital divide.
Kira is also the Communications Director at the Oxford Human Rights Hub and a research partner of the Whose Knowledge? campaign, which works to center the knowledge of marginalized communities on the web and raise awareness of the digital exclusions that keep the majority of the world from participating fully in digital knowledge creation and curation.
She completed her DPhil at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, where her dissertation focused on how mobility between online and offline spaces constituted a practice of resistance during and after the 2011 Egyptian revolution. Between 2011 and 2015, Kira conducted ethnographic research, blending online and offline qualitative methods, to investigate how the use of digital technologies by Egyptian youth were transforming virtual and physical spaces in the city of Cairo.
DPhil, Oriental Studies (Islamic World), University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
MPhil (with Distinction), Modern Middle Eastern Studies, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
BA, Government and Linguistics, The College of William and Mary, Virginia, USA
- DOI: 10.1038/d41586-018-07506-7DOI: 10.1386/jams.9.2.389_5This article examines the use of everyday mobile technologies, and mobile telephony in particular, in political activism and protest during the 2011 Egyptian uprisings and throughout its continuing aftermath. The Arab revolutions have their own, now familiar, nomenclature, derived from the semantics of revolution and the digital age. Much of the language used to describe and analyze events in the Middle East has emphasized the “newness” of the technologies of protest and coordination and the uniquely 2.0 characteristics of these political movements. This article confronts this narrative, exploring the role of mobile telephony in Egypt during an ongoing period of political upheaval by moving away from the question of what is “new” or “revolutionary” toward what is ordinary put toward revolutionary ends. The article argues that the Arab Spring presents a crucial opportunity to interrogate and deconstruct the hybrid ecology of people and technological tools. By exploring several specific ways in which mobile telephony has played a role in the Egyptian revolution, this article demonstrates how a fixation on newness not only tells an incomplete story of this technologically mediated revolution but also undermines the ongoing practices of historicizing it.
- Community internet networks
- Autonomous infrastructure
- Human rights in the information society
- Environmental impact of digital technologies
- Political economy of information and communication technologies
- Precarious employment and the gig economy
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