Since this spring Dharma and I have had the honor to be Visiting Research Fellows at the Donald McGannon Communication Research Center at Fordham University in New York in the company of communications scholars including Phil Napoli and Minna Aslama. While fellows we’ve been working on a book on telecommunications policy and user research for the University of Michigan Press.
The book builds off of our work for the FCC in 2009/2010 to inform the National Broadband Plan by investigating the reasons why more than a third of people in the U.S. don’t have the internet at home. In part, the book is about the digital divide and social equity around media.
It’s also a book about how we think through really complex issues. Specifically, it’s about how we believe community-based, user-focused research can be used to help work through social equity and policy tangles (e.g. “wicked” problems).
Though focused on communications issues, we hypothesize that the methods / tools / ways of thinking we’re writing about can also be applied to other sectors and social justice issues that include a similar set of actors, e.g.: polices and policymakers, researchers, communities, industry, a technology or a good (ex: food). For example, food policy, trade policy, or health policy.