Excited to present most recent work from the FESTEM research project together with Nina Boulus-Rødje for the DUB community: Bjørn, P. and N. Boulus-Rødje (2018). “Intrastructural inaccessibility: Tech Entrepreneurs in Occupied Palestine.” ACM Transaction on Computer-human Interaction (TOCHI) 25(5): 31.
In my DUB presentation, I will examine the fundamental and taken-for-granted infrastructures that make tech entrepreneurship possible, reporting from a longitudinal ethnographic study of tech entrepreneurs situated in occupied Palestine. By investigating this polar case of tech entrepreneurship, we can identify critical infrastructures that are otherwise invisible and go unnoticed. I will propose infrastructural accessibility as a method to identify available and absent infrastructures in concrete trans-local situations. Infrastructural accessibility leads us to identify multiple dimensions of critical infrastructures necessary for the success of tech startups. This includes infrastructures related to location, community, funding, digital platforms, politics, and history. Our study shows how these multiple dimensions of infrastructural accessibility shape the everyday practices of tech entrepreneurs. Furthermore, the study reveals how Palestinian tech entrepreneurship is characterized by infrastructural inaccessibility due to missing infrastructures related to mobility, legal frameworks, payment gateways, and mobile Internet. Infrastructural inaccessibility seriously limits tech entrepreneurs’ potential to succeed in creating a long-term sustainable tech industry.