Small farmers, big tech: agrarian commerce and knowledge on Myanmar Facebook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite increasing attention to the sensors, drones, robots, and apps permeating agri-food systems, little attention has been paid to social media, perhaps the most ubiquitous digital technology in rural areas globally. This article draws on analysis of farming groups on Myanmar Facebook to posit social media as appropriated agritech: a generic technology incorporated into existing circuits of economic and social exchange that becomes a site of agrarian innovation. Through analysis of an original archive of popular posts collected from Myanmar-language Facebook pages and groups related to agriculture, I explore the ways that farmers, traders, agronomists and agricultural companies use social media to further agrarian commerce and knowledge. These activities evidence that farmers use Facebook not only to exchange market or planting information, but also to interact in ways structured by existing social, political and economic relations. More broadly, my analysis builds on insights from STS and postcolonial computing to disrupt assumptions about the totalizing power of digital technologies and affirm the relevance of social media to agriculture, while inviting new research into the surprising, ambiguous relationships between small farmers and big tech.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)897-911
Number of pages15
JournalAgriculture and Human Values
Volume40
Issue number3
Early online dateMay 6 2023
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - May 6 2023

Keywords

  • Agrarian studies
  • Agritech
  • Digital agriculture
  • Facebook
  • Myanmar

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