Understanding Nomadic Practices of Social Activist Networks Through the Lens of Infrastructuring: the Case of the European Social Forum
Within CSCW and HCI, an increasing body of literature has been demonstrating the essential relevance of infrastructures and infrastructuring to the work of people engaging in technologically mediated nomadicity. Tech Nomads – or T-Nomads, as they are sometimes called – not only rely on technological, human , and environmental infrastructural components – such as Wi-Fi, technical support, space, and basic resources such as light and power outlets – but they also have to engage in infrastructuring to mobilise their workplaces and effectively accomplish work in and across different locations. In this article, we bring an infrastructuring perspective to understanding nomadic practices concerning the organisation of complex collaborative events. We introduce findings from a long-term investigation focusing on how infrastructures are re-instantiated with the help of digital technologies, according to emerging demands from T-Nomads. Our findings demonstrate the need for a ‘non-essentialist’ approach to nomadicity, one which recognises the character of nomadic work and its varied aspects in different contexts. We extend the infrastructuring literature by demonstrating how infrastructuring work is done in a complex collaborative initiative, as the organisation of the annual European Social Forum.