Infrastructural Grind: Introducing Blockchain Technology in the Shipping Domain

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In this paper, we present ethnographic data unpacking threedifferent accounts of how Blockchain technology getsintroduced into the shipping domain. The resultsdemonstrate that the shipping industry is based upon aninformation infrastructure with a socio-technical kernelcomprising transaction practices between shippers, freightforwarders, ports, shipping lines, and other actors in theshipping industry. These practices are based uponstandards, which have evolved over time and are embeddedwithin the installed base of the infrastructure. We find thatbecause of the inertia of the shipping infrastructure,Blockchain technology cannot be seamlessly introduceddirectly into the shipping domain. Instead, we introduceInfrastructural Grind as the activity by which domains (e.g.shipping) intersect with new technological infrastructures(e.g. Blockchain). Infrastructural grind occurs as a result ofvarious infrastructuring activities taking place at differentintersections between the two infrastructures, and isconstituted of the sum of these manifestations. We proposethat infrastructural grind is enacted through activitiesexpressing elements of consolidation, permeability, andvelocity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2018 ACM Conference on Supporting Groupwork : GROUP '18
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date2018
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-5562-9
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event2018 ACM Conference on Supporting Groupwork, GROUP 2018 - Sanibel Island, United States
Duration: 7 Jan 201810 Jan 2018


Conference2018 ACM Conference on Supporting Groupwork, GROUP 2018
LandUnited States
BySanibel Island

ID: 221758602