This book, edited by Valeria Ferrari, Florian Idelberger, Andrea Leiter, Morshed Mannan, María-Cruz Valiente, Balázs Bodó, brings together voices from various fields of intellectual inquiry, based on the idea that technological, legal and societal aspects of the information sphere are interlinked and co-dependent from each other. In order to tackle the existing gap in shared semantics, this glossary converges the efforts of experts from various disciplines to build a shared vocabulary on the social, technical, economic, political aspects of decentralised, distributed or sovereign technologies: artefacts which seek to challenge the techno-social status quo by, for example, circumventing law enforcement, resisting surveillance, or being participative.
The idea ofthis glossary arose from the need for a workable, flexible and multidisciplinary resource for terminological clarity, which reflects instead of denying complexity. Situating the terms emerging through technology development in the wider context of multidisciplinary scientific, policy and political discourses, this glossary provides a conceptual toolkit for the study of the various political, economic, legal and technical struggles that decentralised, encryption-based, peer-to-peer technologies bring about and go through.
Choosing relevant technology-related terms and understanding them is to investigate their affordances within a given ecosystem of actors, discourses and systems of incentives. This requires an interdisciplinary, multi-layered approach that is attentive to the interlinkages between technological design nuances and socio-political, economic implications.
The glossary was envisioned as a long-term collaborative project, and as a work-in-progress, as new entries are periodically added over time. The present book collects the entries published on the Internet Policy Review between 2021 and 2023. Therefore, it represents the first volume of what hopefully will be a long-term, ever-evolving editorial collaboration, whose sources of inspiration and goals evolve with the evolving of the broader discussions on decentralized technologies.
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