Citizens of Worlds

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Jennifer Gabrys

Environments are increasingly sites of pollution, extraction, disaster, and development. Citizens of Worlds examines how citizen-sensing technologies and practices observe, evidence, and act on environmental disturbance. By focusing especially on how people use sensors and sensing technologies to monitor air quality, this book asks who or what constitutes a “citizen” in citizen sensing. How do digital sensing technologies enable or constrain environmental citizenship?

Taking the form of a how-to guide, Citizens of Worlds documents projects from the Citizen Sense research group, which built digital sensor toolkits for documenting and analyzing air pollution. This practice-based study describes collaborations with people to monitor air pollution from fracking infrastructure, document traffic emissions, and create air quality gardens. In the process of installing sensing technologies, this study considers the aspirations, collaborations, troubleshooting, disappointments, and political change that are forged in specific sensing projects.

As these projects show, how people work with, respond to, care for, shape, fight for, and transform environments informs the political subjects and collectives that they become. Citizens and worlds materialize through attempts to sense and struggle toward more breathable conditions.

Background photo by Dominik Dancs on Unsplash. Dustbox illustration by Sarah Garcin, courtesy of Citizen Sense.

Draft Manuscript

These are pre-production, peer-reviewed draft chapters made openly available ahead of their official publication in 2022.

Listings in italics will be added as they become available.

Example Citation. Jennifer Gabrys, “Instrumental Citizens: How to Retool Action,” draft manuscript from Citizens of Worlds (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming), {URL}.

Related Works

Program Earth Cover
Grappling with the consequences of wiring our world, Program Earth examines how sensor technologies are programming our environments. Jennifer Gabrys suggests that the sensor-based monitoring of Earth offers the prospect of making new environments not simply as an extension of the human but rather as new “technogeographies” that connect technology, nature, and people.
How to Do Things with Sensors Cover
Sensors are increasingly common within citizen-sensing and DIY projects, but these devices often require the use of a how-to guide. How to Do Things with Sensors explores the ways in which things are made do-able with and through sensors and further considers how worlds are made sense-able and actionable through the instructional mode of citizen-sensing projects.


  • isbn
  • publisher
    University of Minnesota Press
  • publisher place
    Minneapolis, MN
  • restrictions
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
  • rights
    Copyright by the Regents of the University of Minnesota
  • rights holder
    Regents of the University of Minnesota
  • doi