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The 20th Century was the epoch of mass production, mass communication, and mass movements. But ours is the era of collaborative production and interactive media. What are the new forms of public assembly when organizing cannot be separated from the organization of the digital interface?

Socio-technologies of Assembly: Sense-making and Demonstration in Rebuilding Lower Manhattan

Drawing on Science and Technology Studies, Monique Girard and I propose that forms of public assemby vary as distinct combinations of social networks, technologies, and protocols. The key technologies of a public hearing, for example, are a microphone and a stopwatch, combined with rules for who can speak and for how long.

Governance and Information: The Rewiring of Governing and Deliberation in the 21st Century. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

PowerPoint in Public: Digital Technologies and the New Morphology of Demonstration

This paper examines the use of PowerPoint to make demonstrations in the public arena. Our first set of demonstrations are the PowerPoint presentations in December 2002 by the seven finalist architectural teams in the Innovative Design competition for rebuilding the World Trade Center. Our second case occurred some blocks away, several months later: Colin Powell's PowerPoint demonstration at the United Nations. We argue that Edward Tufte's denunciation of PowerPoint does not capture the cognitive style made possible by this pervasive new technology.

Theory, Culture & Society 2008, 25(5):31-56.

Socio-technologies of Assembly: Sense-making and Demonstration in Rebuilding Lower Manhattan

This PowerPoint augments the argument that Monique Girard and I make in our published paper, presenting more visual materials about the diverse forms of public assembly in which New Yorkers imagined the possibilities of urban space at and around the World Trade Center site.

Structural Folds: Generative Disruption in Overlapping Groups

What is a social group across time in network terms? This is the key sociological question that Balazs Vedres and I address in this paper. We identify a distinctive network position - the structural fold - at the overlap of cohesive group structures. We show that this structure contributes to creative disruption: groups with structural folds show higher performance but are also more unstable. In the final part of the paper we identify lineages of cohesion: across a longer time frame, groups separate and reunite in an ongoing pattern of interweaving.

American Journal of Sociology January 2010, 115(4): 1150-90.