Neighborhood Sounding An Archaeology of Dynamic Media Networks 1960–1980 | 2010
PDF, 10 pages
According to the French collective of mathematicians which published under the pseudonym Nicolas Bourbaki, neighborhood as a term used in topology is defined as an expression for “sufficiently near” or “as near as we please.” In the monograph Micromotives and Macrobehavior by sociologist Thomas C. Schelling the concept of neighborhood plays an important role for analyzing the dynamics of separation and segregation of ethnic groups. And the jargon of telecommunications uses the term neighbor inter alia for describing the closest switching computers in packet switching – a technical term for the media technology of early Internet.
This contribution is a media archaeological inquiry into the past of dynamic media networks such as the Internet and a close reading of some early historical publications describing early computer networks. Concentrating on the programming of routing procedures it outlines neighborhood sounding as a key moment of packet switching, an early form of distributed and dynamic networks, where each agent or node was defined by the lively exchanges of its neighboring nodes. It finally discusses whether the assemblage or agencement of ARPAnet can be regarded as a complex system, showing emergent behavior or not and whether packet switching can be perceived as an early implementation of principles embodied in more advanced neighborhood technologies of the 21st century.
Neighborhood Technologies expands upon sociologist Thomas Schelling’s wellknown study of segregation in major American cities, using this classic work as the basis for a new way of researching social networks across disciplines. Up to now, research has focused on macrolevel behaviors that, together, form rigid systems of neighborhood relations. But can neighborhoods, conversely, affect larger, global dynamics? This volume introduces the concept of “neighborhood technologies” as a model for intermediate, or meso-level, research into the links between local agents and neighborhood relations. Bridging the sciences and humanities, Tobias Harks and Sebastian Vehlken have assembled a group of contributors
who are either natural scientists with an interest in interdisciplinary research or tech-savvy humanists. With insights into computer science, mathematics, sociology, media and cultural studies, theater studies, and architecture, the book will inform new research.