The commodification of location: Dynamics of power in location-based systems

Irina Shklovski, Janet Vertesi, Emily Troshynski, Paul Dourish

Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalConference articleResearchpeer-review


Location-based ubiquitous computing systems are entering mainstream society and becoming familiar parts of everyday life. However, the settings in which they are deployed are already suffused with complex social dynamics. We report on a study of parole officers and parolees whose relationships are being transformed by location-based technologies. While parolees are clearly subjects of state discipline, the parole officers also find themselves subject to new responsibilities. This study highlights the complexities of power in sociotechnical systems and what happens when location becomes a tradable, technological object.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventUbicomp 2009: 11th International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing - Orlando, Florida, United States
Duration: 30 Sept 20093 Oct 2009
Conference number: 11th


ConferenceUbicomp 2009
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOrlando, Florida
Internet address


  • Location-based ubiquitous computing
  • Sociotechnical systems
  • Power dynamics
  • Parole monitoring
  • Technological objectification


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