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[liberationtech] A Special Issue on the Glocal Use of ICT

Michael Gurstein gurstein at
Sun Apr 17 08:41:33 PDT 2011

Many of the issues (and research) being discussed on this list would fall
within the framework being presented for a special issue of the peer
reviewed Journal of Community Informatics (

For a variety of reasons this issue has been delayed and so we are
recirculating this CfP as attached and below.


-----Original Message-----
From: Horelli-Kukkonen Liisa [mailto:liisa.horelli at] 
Sent: Sunday, April 17, 2011 8:22 AM
To: Michael Gurstein
Cc: Doug Schuler
Subject: RE: an article about the glocal?

Dear Michael and Doug,

attached is the Joci call.

It would be great if you pass the call round. 

Liisa Horelli, PhD
Adjunct Professor
Aalto University
Centre for Urban and Regional Studies
PL 12200
00076 Aalto University


Dear all, a special issue of the Journal of Community Informatics
( will be devoted to ´Linking the Local with the
Global within Community informatics`, guest-edited by Liisa Horelli and Doug

The Journal of Community Informatics is a focal point for the communication
of research of interest to a global network of academics, community
informatics practitioners and national and multi-lateral policy makers. The
field of community informatics seeks to explore the potentials of ICTs and
their applications for economic, ecological and socio-cultural development
efforts at the community level. It seeks to ensure that individuals and
communities can take advantage of the opportunities that these technologies
can provide. 

For this special issue of the Journal, we are inviting submission of
original, unpublished articles. We welcome research articles from different
disciplines, case studies and notes from the field. All research articles
will be double blind peer-reviewed. Insights and analytical perspectives
from practitioners and policy makers in the form of notes from the field or
case studies are also encouraged. These will not be peer-reviewed.

You can find the full Call for Papers below. Looking forward to hearing from
you.  Warm wishes, Liisa and Doug
Journal of Community Informatics: 
Call for Papers for Special issue on Linking the Local with the Global
within Community Informatics
Guest editors: Liisa Horelli and Douglas Schuler

The Journal of Community Informatics ( is a focal
point for the communication of research of interest to a global network of
academics, Community Informatics practitioners and national and
multi-lateral policy makers.
We invite submissions of original, unpublished articles for a forthcoming
special edition of the Journal that will focus on Linking the Local with the
Global within Community Informatics. We welcome research articles from
different disciplines, case studies and notes from the field. All research
articles will be double blind peer-reviewed. Insights and analytical
perspectives from practitioners and policy makers in the form of notes from
the field or case studies are also encouraged. These will not be
What is Community Informatics?
Community informatics
	...links economic and social development efforts at the community
level with emerging opportunities in such areas as electronic commerce,
community and civic networks and telecentres, electronic democracy and
online-participation, self-help and virtual health communities, advocacy,
cultural enhancement, and e-planning among others. concerned with carving out a sphere and developing strategies
for precisely those who are being excluded from this ongoing rush, and
enabling these individuals and communities to take advantage of some of the
opportunities which the technology is providing. It is also concerned with
enhancing civil society and strengthening local communities for
self-management and for environmental and economically sustainable
development, ensuring that many who might otherwise be excluded are able to
take advantage of the enormous opportunities the new technologies are
- Michael Gurstein in Community Informatics: Enabling Communities with
Information and Communications
Why a special issue on Linking Local with the Global within Community
Community informatics (CI) is the study and practice of information and
communication systems (especially involving networked digital systems) in
the community. Regardless of the agreement on the broad definition, there
are inherent tensions within the CI community and with the CI perspective
itself. The "simple" idea of community is the source of one tension since
there are a multiplicity of definitions and usages of the word "community",
many of which are semantically loaded or ambiguous. Is, for example, a
"virtual community" a real community? 

Another source of tension is between the local and the global, the focus of
this special issue. What's local and what's global? What is their
significance in terms of our focus on "community"? How do we define the two
terms so that they are meaningful and useful to our work? Perhaps these
terms distract us from conceptualizing our enterprise in ways that are more
useful? What characterizes phenomena or artifacts as belonging to one or the
other (and how do they influence each other)? Interestingly, the community
of community informatics researchers, practitioners, and activists itself is
part of a new hybridity that blurs local and global. 

The term glocalization has been coined to focus on the intermixing of local
and global influences which are present and active everywhere. Although the
phenomenon is not new, it has intensified in recent years due to the
Internet, mass communications, mobile telephones, air travel, war,
migration, economic interdependence, environmental impacts, and other
aspects of 21st century mobilities. But identifying and naming a phenomenon
is only the beginning. We must not mistake our use of a new term for
understanding. For example, how would glocalization help us understand a
network of local communities? 

The availability of urban and community ICT could allow people to understand
the larger impacts of their everyday decisions. It could also enable people
to understand and promote not only the particularities of the local but also
commonalities of the global, and to engage with the broader global “sphere”.
Consequently, people could become actors who are engaged in the glocal
networks of mobile people, goods and information. 

However, glocal influence or interaction could be directed from the
top-down, laterally, or from the bottom-up. CI implicitly embraces the
tension between the local and the global. On some level, global and local
pit two types of forces against each other. How does CI consider this clash
or intermingling of forces? Does it advocate larger barriers, shelters, or
hiding places, from these forces or does it inspire or promote the type of
collective intelligence that goes beyond "using ICT?" The recent debate on
the CI-research list brought up the idea that CI could be used, in addition
to the benefit of communities, to the benefit of global communities. This
debate raised arguments that both supported and questioned the claim. On the
one hand, there is the risk that glocalisation can dilute (and downgrade)
the "community" to some larger (and less individually significant) whole. In
that case, it may be important to preserve the 'local' as it maintains the
community's domains of control and power over the circumstances that impacts
it. It can be reasoned that greater globality essentially removes
self-control and self-governance. 

On the other hand, glocalisation provides new strategic options for
movements who seek resources and support far beyond national boundaries,
such as the Chiapas, in Mexico. The global opportunities even begin to play
part in the way local activists frame the issues they raise locally. Thus,
the "outside world" affects communities, but communities exert forces
outwards as well. Local communities can also share experiences and
strategies, thus mutually strengthening each other. We need to figure out,
how we are going to make the glocal or translocal connections work most
effectively. This special issue is intended to help surface the
opportunities, challenges, and risks around this theme. 

These issues give rise to a large number of research questions. Some of
these are listed below but there are many yet to be identified and
researched. What processes underlie the forces of globalization? Which are
forces of localization? How are people affected by each? How do these forces
originate, diffuse, and make their effects felt? Do these forces affect all
communities equally or are gender, ethnicity, or other features significant
factors? And what should CI researchers / practitioners do in relation to
those forces? Is the issue trying to help communities use ICT more
effectively, or is it working in a general way to develop communication
systems that will help local communities intelligently address the problems
that they (and the rest of the world) face? In some situations, for example,
this means helping to develop collective problem-solving tools so people can
more effectively resist oppression or fight the status quo. Or should their
inhabitants be full citizens of the world with the rights and
responsibilities that accompany that status? How can we characterize the new
diversity of global / local relationships? What patterns exist? In what ways
might (hyper?) localism breed parochialism and isolationism? Can we embrace
CI without unnecessarily valorizing the local community? What are the
opportunities (and what should the limits be) to our research and activism
on behalf of and with the local community? 

Because CI is a brand new field of research and practice we have the rare
opportunity to define our field. Is it useful — or even possible — to
conceptualize a social enterprise that is relevant today without explicitly
acknowledging climate change, environmental degradation, oppression,
poverty, human rights, war and militarism, and other "global" problems that
face us all, however indirectly. How should these manifest "global" concerns
be factored into our enterprise? And how does the role of information and
communication, the foundations of our enterprise, change — if at all — the
way we answer these questions? This positioning of our enquiry at such a
point should enable a new set of opportunities. CI integrates research and
engagement. So its view of localism and globalism needs to be informed
through those perspectives.

We invite authors to submit in English both full articles for peer-review,
as well as short pieces on specific experiences and/or policy and regulatory
issues, to be reviewed by the guest editors.
For information about submission requirements, including author guidelines,
please visit:
For further information, clarifications, comments or suggestions, and to
send abstracts of papers for consideration, please contact:

Dr. Liisa Horelli
Helsinki University of Technology
Centre for Urban and Regional Studies
liisa.horelli at

Douglas Schuler
The Public Sphere Project and The Evergreen State College
douglas at
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