The narratives we inherit: the local and global in Tomsk’s internet history
In recent years scholars have called for more attention to local net histories, work that demonstrates how networked computing developed in specific geographical, material, and social contexts. Research carried out in this spirit stands in contrast to a canonical and popular history of the (singular) “Internet,” and thus sets up an opposition or dyadК between “local” net histories and the “global” or mainstream history of ARPAnet, the Internet Protocol, and the World Wide Web. This article takes up the call for local net histories by focusing on Tonet, a local network that was developed in the Siberian city of Tomsk and which peaked in usage in the early 2000s. However, rather than assuming an opposition between local and global Internet history, this article interrogates how the local net and global Internet were articulated by Tonet’s computer scientists and regional journalists at the time. The article thus enquires into symbolic connections between a local net and the global Internet, unsettling this opposition while also drawing attention to the specific legacies that shaped these concepts in the case of Tonet.