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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Discursive Deployments: Mobilizing Support for Municipal and Community Wireless Networks in the U.S.

  • Author(s): Alvarez, Rosio
  • et al.

This paper examines Municipal Wireless (MW) deployments in the United States. In particular, the interest is in understanding how discourse has worked to mobilize widespread support for MW networks. We explore how local governments discursively deploy the language of social movements to create a shared understanding of the networking needs of communities. Through the process of "framing" local governments assign meaning to the MW networks in ways intended to mobilize support and demobilize opposition. The mobilizing potential of a frame varies and is dependent on its centrality and cultural resonance. We examine the framing efforts of MW networks by using a sample of Request for Proposals for community wireless networks, semi-structured interviews and local media sources. Prominent values that are central to a majority of the projects and others that are culturally specific are identified and analyzed for their mobilizing potency.

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