Code Ethnography (ICA 2022)

The purpose of this article is to discuss an ethnography of code, or code ethnography, a method for examining code as a socio-technical actor, considering its social, political and economic dynamics in the context of digital infrastructures. The article presents the results of code ethnography application in the study of internet interconnection dynamics, having the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) as code and two of the largest internet exchange points (IXPs) in the world as points of data collection, DE-CIX Frankfurt, and São Paulo. The results show inequalities between the global North and the global South and concentration of power at the level of interconnection infrastructure hitherto unknown in the context of the political economy of the internet. Code ethnography is explained in terms of code literacy, code as part of an assemblage, and code materiality, which unveils the grammar of BGP in context, and the formation of giant internet nodes and infrastructural interdependencies in the circulation information infrastructure of the internet.


Reference: 72nd Annual International Communication Association Conference (ICA 2022), May 26-30, 2022, Paris (accepted)

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