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Karina Rider

Queens University
PhD Candidate
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
My dissertation looks at civic engagement in Silicon Valley, specifically how local Bay Area civic and political groups target the tech industry for social change (these groups focus on issues like surveillance and privacy regulation; net neutrality; digital civil liberties; housing and transportation; and how tech-products are being used in policing and immigration raids), and how tech workers themselves engage in civic and political action (namely, tech labor organizing and civic tech). My preliminary findings suggest that in addition to contesting (and, in some cases, reinforcing) the material conditions and consequences of the tech industry in Silicon Valley, these groups are also engaging with the Silicon Valley work ethos. This work ethos is sometimes reproduced in civic engagement spaces (such as working on "project time", prioritizing networking as a means for creating social change, and a focus on data and computing as primary tools for realizing their visions of the future). This may have consequences for the types of politics that come out of these activist and civic engagement groups.