Showing posts with label private-public. Show all posts
Showing posts with label private-public. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Another review out on my book 'The Leisure Commons: A Spatial History of Web 2.0'

Kevin Driscoll a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft Research, has written a thoughtful review of my book, The Leisure Commons, A Spatial history of Web 2.0 for the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing

Here are some excerpts from the review:
"Arora’s analysis of social media centers on a comparison with an older spatial technology that was also introduced with a bloom of optimism and collective imagination: the public park. For Arora, social media and the public park are both part of “the leisure commons,” spaces designed primarily for collective, nonutilitarian purposes such as play, relaxation, and socializing."

"One of Arora’s goals in The Leisure Commons is to put the critical study of social media in dialogue with the interdisciplinary body of research on urban parks. Readers will be quickly convinced by Arora’s wide-ranging exploration of park metaphors that the two fields share a number of core theoretical concerns.”

Click here for the full review

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Launch of new organization -Catalyst Lab

I have for the longest time wanted to start an organization that would bring academia and business together, partly because unlike many academics in the humanities and social sciences, I did shift careers and moved from the business world into this so called 'ivory tower.' Having experienced both worlds, I respect their unique strengths and  am also aware of the challenges that weaken them when it comes to public outreach, one of the cornerstones for any organization in a contemporary democratic society. Being 'accountable' to the public today is not just about transparency but a new kind of communication which is more a dialogue between diverse stakeholders rather than a top down dissemination of information to the public. And with new digital platforms providing potentially new public spheres online, we have little excuse to delay such conversations from happening.

Since I'm a big fan of 'manifestos' as it condenses ideals and passions that remind us of why we do what we do, click here for the Catalyst manifesto for those interested in knowing what makes this Lab different and worth engaging with.

So what does Catalyst Lab actually do? It pioneers digital media projects that stimulate public discussion on wide-ranging social issues, from the mundane to the profound, involving stakeholders such as businesses, non-profits, activists, artists, think tanks and government agencies in this endeavor. The goal is to bring public debate to life through creative social media strategies that entertain, educate and energize stakeholders to participate in discussions to inform and be informed.

And we have an amazing global team to make this happen too! Excited to grow this organization further and take on new and challenging projects!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

New article out on big data and the global south

Last year, I initiated the Privacy and the global South Project with fieldwork on digital privacy in the favelas of Brazil, townships of South Africa and the slums of India. Its been an exciting year and while at it, big data is one of those topics that dominate this discussion. So, wrote a thought piece on this for Discover Society which just came out. Check it out if you are interested in how conversations on surveillance, privacy, big data and trust transfer to this much neglected setting and populace. 
Big data and the global south project

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Paper presentations at the IAMCR Conference 2011 in Istanbul

I'll also be presenting on the following topics at the IAMCR conference 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey:


It has taken the past decade to commonly acknowledge that cyberspace is tethered to real place. From euphoric conceptualizations of virtual space as novel, unprecedented and revolutionary an entity, the dust has settled, allowing for talk of boundaries and ties to real world settings. Metaphors have faithfully followed this scholarship; there is a clear mission to architect Net spaces, be it chatrooms, electronic frontiers, homepages, to information highways. This metaphorical approach allows for concretization and comprehension of Net spaces for policy regulation, private sector practice and pedagogic instruction. This paper focuses particularly on the pedagogic angle, providing a rubric of guidance for university professors to address the critical relationship of the real and virtual in new media studies programs. This paper proposes a conceptual framework of applying metaphors to systematize the connect between online and offline spaces. The design of spaces can be conceptualized into 5 typologies: utilitarian-driven, aesthetic-driven, context-driven, play-driven and value-driven, making explicit the diversity of online spaces and its innate characteristics. This framework applies lessons learnt from the architecting of real space to virtual space. In doing so, it spans the field of urban planning, architecture, and new media studies. Currently, there is little guidance for instructors in new media on how to teach this relationship of the real and virtual. Thereby, this pedagogic framework will allow professors and students to engage in the comprehension of cyberspace through a more sophisticated and interdisciplinary avenue.

(Under the Program: Between Security and Privacy. Understanding the Balance be-tween Surveillance and Data Protection as
Local, Regional and Global Policy Issues)

In this Web 2.0 era, contemporary leisure is dominantly situated within the online sphere. It is now commonly believed that much of what users do online is of a social nature and if we are to understand their enactments, online spatial analysis of these cyberleisure spaces is a good starting point. This paper thereby proposes that if the Internet can be seen as a “digital city,” its online leisure spaces need to be seen as its virtual parks. Social network sites and parks share much rhetoric in common- they are both perceived as free, universal, democratic and non-utilitarian in nature. Yet, if we are to take on this metaphorical comparison through a historical and comparative analysis, we will discover the ongoing politics of keeping these leisure spaces “public.” For instance, the making of parks in the 19th century involved a significant struggle to shift from the State to the masses. Also, parks across nations and cultures, although one of the seemingly least regulated public spaces, is in fact bounded by social, cultural and economic constraints that shape its very nature. Furthermore, an interesting discussion can stem from the fact that contemporary leisure spaces are finding themselves more within “gated communities,” both online and offline, highlighting an interesting and important dimension of the semi-private nature of cyberleisure spaces. This paper leverages and re(situates) Habermas’s theory on the public sphere, essential for our understandings on notions of ownership, authority, regulation, class, inclusivity/exclusivity in relation to leisure. The tensions of the public and private can be revealed through this parallel as we delve into questions of current importance in relation to online leisure: can we equate “public” space with “free” space? What are the trade-offs involved in keeping a social space “free?” How do we understand the notion of access to these cyberleisure spaces in relation to its current socio-cultural and economic boundaries? How “open” are contemporary leisure spaces and what are its determining factors? Overall, an analysis of the public versus private nature of cyberleisure spaces, both online and offline can shed light on what regulates and shapes contemporary leisure.