A data centre
Credit: Alex Vasey for Unsplash

In a new article for New Media & Society, Julia Rone explores local contestation of data centres in the Dutch province of North Holland.

In a new article The shape of the cloud: Contesting date centre construction in North HollandJulia Rone explores why and how local councillors and citizen groups mobilized against data centres and demanded democratization of decision-making processes about digital infrastructure.

This analysis is used as a vantage point to problematize existing policy and academic narratives on digital sovereignty in Europe.

Julia shows, first, that most debates on digital sovereignty so far have overlooked the sub-national level, which is especially relevant for decision making on digital infrastructure.

Second, she insists that what matters is not only where digital sovereignty lies, that is, who has the power to decide over digital infrastructural projects: for example, corporations, states, regions, or municipalities.

What matters is also how power is exercised.

Emphasizing the popular democratic dimension of sovereignty, Julia argues for a comprehensive democratization of digital sovereignty policies. Democratization in this context is conceived as a multimodal multi-level process, including parliaments, civil society and citizens at the national, regional and local levels alike.

The shape of the cloud should be citizens’ to decide.

Read the article

Discover Julia’s blog on the topic

This article has been published New Media & Society

About New Media and Society

New Media & Society engages in critical discussions of the key issues arising from the scale and speed of new media development, drawing on a wide range of disciplinary perspectives and on both theoretical and empirical research.