Powell, Alison

Dr Alison Powell  


Position held

Experience keywords:

Wi-Fi; broadband; community; design; information and communication technologies; innovation; innovation; internet; media futures; mobile and wireless media; new media; participation; wireless

Research summary > [Click to expand]

I study user innovation in new media systems, as well as how users and pro-sumers contribute to new media policy. I am interested in the future of internet and mobile media systems, especially the interactions between systems, users and designers. I have undertaken consulting work related to broadband access, net neutrality, alternative wireless and mobile infrastructures, and am a member of the European Network of Excellence on Internet Science.

Sectors and industries to which research relates:

Creative Industries and Culture; Information Technology; Media Technology and New Media

Countries and regions to which research relates:

Canada; France; North America; Quebec; UK; United States; Western Europe


French [Spoken: Fluent, Written: Fluent]

Media experience:

Has written for mainstream press; Radio

Contact Points

LSE email:




Powell, Alison (2017) Data walking and the production of radical bottom up knoweldge In: Knox, Hannah, (ed.) Big Data Ethnographies. University of Manchester Press, Manchester, UK.

Light, Ann and Shklovski, Irina and Powell, Alison (2017) Design for existential crisis In: Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems - CHI EA '17. Association for Computing Machinery, New York, USA, 722-734. ISBN 9781450346566


Powell, Alison (2016) Coding alternative modes of governance: learning from experimental “peer to peer cities” In: Kitchin, Rob and Perg, Sun-Yuen, (eds.) Code and the City. Routledge, London, UK. ISBN 9781138922112

Powell, Alison (2016) Accountable machines: bureaucratic cybernetics? Media Policy Blog (24 Mar 2016) Blog entry

Powell, Alison (2016) Making and measuring news: data and algorithms in journalism POLIS: journalism and society at the LSE (24 Feb 2016) blog

Powell, Alison (2016) Algorithms, accountability, and political emotion: on the cultural assumptions underpinning sentiment analysis. Impact of Social Sciences Blog (20 Jul 2016) Blog entry

Powell, Alison (2016) LSE Data and Society delves into key social issues of algorithmic control Media Policy Blog (22 Jan 2016) Blog entry

Powell, Alison (2016) Five Minutes with Alison Powell on what data means, how it is produced and what influence it has for decision-makers. Impact of Social Sciences Blog (22 Feb 2016) Blog entry

Powell, Alison (2016) Hacking in the public interest: authority, legitimacy, means and ends New Media and Society, 18 (4). 600-616. ISSN 1461-4448

Murthy, Dhiraj and Powell, Alison and Tinati, Ramine and Anstead, Nick and Carr, Leslie and Halford, Susan and Weal, Mark (2016) Automation, algorithms, and politics| bots and political influence: a sociotechnical investigation of social network capital International Journal of Communication, 10. 4952-4971. ISSN 1932-8036

Powell, Alison (2016) Network exceptionalism: online action, discourse and the opposition to SOPA and ACTA Information, Communication and Society, 19 (2). 249-263. ISSN 1369-118X


Powell, Alison (2015) Open culture and innovation: integrating knowledge across boundaries Media, Culture and Society, 37 (3). 376-393. ISSN 0163-4437


Powell, Alison (2014) The history and future of internet openness: from 'wired' to 'mobile'” In: Herman, Andrew and Hadlaw, Jan and Swiss, Thom, (eds.) Theories of the Mobile Internet. Routledge, London, UK. ISBN 9780415731003

Powell, Alison (2014) Will the ‘Honest Brokers’ of Internet Governance Have Any Real Power? Media Policy Blog (14 Feb 2014) Blog entry

Powell, Alison (2014) Alternative civic architecture: maps of the alternative internet Media Policy Blog (22 Dec 2014) Blog entry

Powell, Alison (2014) ‘Datafication’, transparency, and good governance of the data city In: O'Hara, Kieron and Nguyen, Carolyn and Haynes, Peter, (eds.) Digital Enlightenment Yearbook 2014: Social Networks and Social Machines, Surveillance and Empowerment. ISO Press Ebooks, 215-224.

Couldry, Nick and Powell, Alison (2014) Big data from the bottom up Big Data and Society, 1 (2). ISSN 2053-9517


Powell, Alison (2013) Book review: Regulating code: good governance and better regulation in the information age LSE Review of Books (12 Aug 2013) blog

Powell, Alison (2013) Argument-by-technology: how technical activism contributes to internet governance In: Brown, Ian, (ed.) Research Handbook on Governance of the Internet. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK, 198-220. ISBN 9781849805025


Powell, Alison and Shade, Leslie Regan (2012) Community and municipal WiFi initiatives in Canada: evolutions in community participation In: Clement, Andrew and Gurstein, Michael and Longford, Graham, (eds.) Connecting Canadians: Investigations in Community Informatics. Athabasca University Press, Edmonton, Canada, 183-201. ISBN 9781926836041

Peddle, Katrina and Powell, Alison and Shade, Leslie Regan (2012) "The researcher is a girl": tales of bringing feminist labour perspectives into community informatics In: Clement, Andrew and Gurstein, Michael and Longford, Graham, (eds.) Connecting Canadians: Investigations in Community Informatics. Athabasca University Press, Edmonton, Canada, 117-132. ISBN 9781926836041

Powell, Alison (2012) Privatized governance and “consent of the networked”: Rebecca MacKinnon at Polis (guest blog) POLIS: journalism and society at the LSE (28 Feb 2012) blog

Powell, Alison (2012) WiFi publics: defining community and technology at Montreal’s Île Sans Fil In: Clement, Andrew and Gurstein, Michael and Longford, Graham, (eds.) Connecting Canadians: Investigations in Community Informatics. Athabasca University Press, Edmonton, Canada, 202-217. ISBN 9781926836041

Powell, Alison (2012) Democratizing production through open source knowledge: from open software to open hardware Media, Culture and Society, 34 (6). 691-708. ISSN 0163-4437


Forlano, Laura and Powell, Alison and Shaffer, Gwen and Lennett, Benjamin (2011) From the digital divide to digital excellence: global best practices for municipal and community wireless networks Lennett, Benjamin, ed New America Foundation, Washington D.C, USA.

Powell, Alison (2011) Will the Digital Economy Act protect consumers from ‘speculative invoicing’? Media Policy Blog (23 Mar 2011) Blog entry

Powell, Alison (2011) Web Blocking Policy made behind closed doors? Media Policy Blog (25 Jun 2011) Blog entry

Powell, Alison and Cooper, Alissa (2011) Net neutrality discourses: comparing advocacy and regulatory arguments in the United States and the United Kingdom Information Society, 27 (5). 311-325. ISSN 0197-2243

Powell, Alison (2011) Metaphors, models and communicative spaces: designing local wireless infrastructure Canadian Journal of Communication, 36 (1). ISSN 1499-6642

Techatassanasoontorn, Angsana and Tapia, Andrea and Powell, Alison (2011) Learning processes in municipal broadband projects: an absorptive capacity perspective Telecommunications Policy, 34 (10). 572-595. ISSN 0308-5961


Powell, Alison and Dailey, Dharma (2010) Towards a taxonomy for public interest communications research In: Napoli, Phil and Aslama, Minna, (eds.) Communications Research in Action: Scholar-Activist Collaborations for a Democratic Public Sphere. Fordham University Press, New York, USA, 45-70. ISBN 9780823233472

Powell, Alison (2010) Method, methodology and new media: Grant Kien, Global technography: ethnography in the age of mobility; Nalita James and Hugh Busher, Online interviewing [Review article] New Media and Society, 12 (6). 1025-1031. ISSN 1461-4448

Powell, Alison (2010) Wi-Fi, resistance, and making infrastructure visible In: Crow, Barbara and Longford, Michael and Sawchuk, Kimberly, (eds.) The Wireless Spectrum: the Politics, Practices and Poetics of Mobile Media. Digital futures. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Canada, 172-186. ISBN 9780802098931

Powell, Alison and Michael, Hills and Victoria, Nash (2010) Child protection and free speech: mapping the territory Discussion Forum Paper, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Dharma, Dailey and Amelia, Bryne and Powell, Alison and Joe, Karaganis and Jaewon, Chung (2010) Broadband adoption in low-income communities Social Science Research Council, New York, USA.

Powell, Alison and Bryne, Amelia and Dailey, Dharma (2010) The essential internet: digital inclusion insights from low-income American communities Policy and Internet, 2 (2). ISSN 1944-2866


Powell, Alison and Dailey, Dharma and Bryne, Amelia (2009) The social impact of communications infrastructure: what do we need to know? The Ethos Group, Champaign-Urbana, USA.

Tapia, Andrea Hoplight and Powell, Alison and Ortiz, Julio Angel (2009) Reforming policy to promote local broadband networks Journal of Communication Inquiry, 33 (4). 354-375. ISSN 0196-8599


Powell, Alison (2008) Une innovation communautaire en milieu urbain: le cas d'Île Sans Fil In: Proulx, Serge and Couture, Stéphane and Rueff, Julien, (eds.) L'action Communautaire a L'ère du Numérique. Collection communication. Presses de l'Université du Québec, Québec, Canada, 139-160. ISBN 9782760515369

Peddle, Katrina and Powell, Alison and Shade, Leslie Regan (2008) Bringing feminist perspectives into community informatics Atlantis: a Women's Studies Journal, 32 (2). ISSN 0702-7818

Dechief, Diane and Longford, Graham and Powell, Alison and Werbin, Kenneth C. (2008) Enabling communities in the networked city: ICTs and civic participation among immigrants and youth in urban Canada In: Aurigi, Alessandro and De Cindio, Fiorello, (eds.) Augmented Urban Spaces: Articulating the Physical and Electronic City. Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot, UK, 155-170. ISBN 9780754671497

Powell, Alison (2008) WiFi publics: producing community and technology Information, Communication and Society, 11 (8). 1068-1088. ISSN 1369-118X

Powell, Alison (2007) An ecology of public internet access: exploring contextual internet access in an urban community Electronic Journal of Communication, 17 (1-2). ISSN 1183-5656


Powell, Alison (2006) Île Sans Fil as a digital formation Laboratoire de Communication Médiatisée par Ordinateur, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Canada.

Powell, Alison and Shade, Leslie Regan (2006) Going Wi-Fi in Canada: municipal and community initiatives Government Information Quarterly, 23 (3-4). 381-403. ISSN 0740-624X

Powell, Alison and Wong, Matt and Clement, Andrew (2006) Marking, locating, and designing for public and private wireless internet spaces CRACIN working papers, Canadian Research Alliance for Community Innovation and Networking, Toronto, Canada.

Powell, Alison (2006) "Last mile" or local innovation?: Canadian perspectives on community wireless networking as civic participation CRACIN working papers, Canadian Research Alliance for Community Innovation and Networking, Toronto, Canada.


Powell, Alison (2005) Book review: the network society Resource Centre for Cyberculture Studies (1 Apr 2005) Website

Powell, Alison (2005) Book review: community in the digital age: philosophy and practice New Media and Society, 7 (4). 589-591. ISSN 1461-4448

Powell, Alison (2005) E-Life and real life: on- and off-line social life in an Internet café In: Consalvo, Mia and Allen, Matthew, (eds.) Internet Research Annual: Selected Papers From the Association of Internet Researchers Conference 2003, Volume 2. Digital formations (20). Peter Lang, New York, USA, 135-148. ISBN 9780820468419

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