Emerging Forms of Sociotechnical Organisation: The Case of the Fediverse


Recently, following events at Cambridge Analytica that put commercial social media under scrutiny, a public debate emerged around corporate digital platforms focused not only on critically analysing their social, economic, political impact but on the creation of alternative spaces of digital communication, organisation and conviviality. The key focus of this chapter is the reappropriation of technology intended as a way to conceive ‘appropriate’ social and technical organisation in opposition to the forms of exploitation and capture put in place by digital platforms. How do practices of reappropriation occur to prefigure new sociotechnical imaginaries and to shape digital spaces and infrastructures, social interactions and relations? In which ways does they engender forms of mutualism? What are the conditions required for the emergence of practices for the reappropriation of technology? What are the configurations, representations and encounters that constitute emerging digital communities? In this chapter, these questions will be examined taking into account the constitution and development of the ‘Fediverse’ – more than a social network, a network of networks – focusing on a digital community that has been at the centre of the authors’ digital ethnographical work since 2018. This case study will be analysed through different standing points and dichotomic tensions: infrastructure (de-centralisation/distribution), design (mutual conditioning/mutual aid), governance (heteronomy/autonomy).

(eds.) Armano, E., Briziarelli M., Risi E. Digital Platforms and Algorithmic Subjectivities.