Welcome to the Digital Village: Networking Geographies of Agrarian Change

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14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Almost 5 billion people—two thirds of the global population—now go online. The Internet has changed how we work, learn, govern, and fall in love. Yet despite its digital turn, geography has failed to grapple with the patterns and significance of Internet connection for rural people and places, particularly in the Global South. This article brings together agrarian studies and digital geography to situate emergent online practices within longer trajectories of agrarian change. To do so, I advance the concept of the digital village, a networked social space in which online practices emerge from existing agrarian relations to reconfigure the strategies of economic survival, the landscapes of home, and the tactics of politics. Drawing on ethnographic research in Myanmar, I show how agrarian relations shape patterns of digital connection and how farmers, migrants, and grassroots activists incorporate Facebook into daily efforts to secure livelihoods, support communities, and mobilize in struggles over land. This analysis yields two key insights: first, digital geographies are embedded in rural relations; second, agrarian questions increasingly play out online.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2096-2110
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
Volume112
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Myanmar
  • agrarian studies
  • critical data studies
  • digital geography
  • social media

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