Internet Geographer

Blog

Posts tagged geonet
New publication: Digital Connectivity and African Knowledge Economies
Screenshot from 2018-07-04 17-31-29.png

My team at the Geonet project have a new publication out that summarises some of our research to-date. You can download the full paper here, or get a free open-access version at the link below:

Graham, M., Ojanpera, S., Anwar, M. A., and Friederici, N. 2017. Digital Connectivity and African Knowledge Economies. Questions de Communication. 32. 345-360.

Abstract:

Connectivity throughout the world is rapidly changing. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Sub-Saharan Africa. The region is quickly moving from a state of digital dis-connectivity, to a state where hundreds of millions of citizens are connected to the digital economy.This rapid change in connectivity has generated a lot of hope and excitement for the potentials of an emergent knowledge economy in the region. Sub- Saharan Africa can, in theory, compete in the production of all manner of digital goods and services with anywhere else in the world.This article surveys the current state of our ongoing multi-year research into the topic, based on empirical research into a range of sectors and domains (including computer code writing, online freelancing, business process outsourcing, and digital entrepreneurship).

Semantic Cities: Coded Geopolitics and the Rise of the Semantic Web.

In order to understand how the city’s contested political contexts are embedded into its digital layers, we traced how the city is represented on online platforms that house facts about much of the world. We did this by analyzing representations of Jerusalem across the Arabic, Hebrew and English versions of Wikipedia (working with a translator on the Arabic and Hebrew versions), as well as on the platforms of Wikidata, Freebase and Google. As our cities become increasingly digital, and as the digital becomes increasingly governed by the logics of the semantic web, there are important questions to ask about how these new alignments of code and content shape how cities are presented, experienced, and brought into being. What we found is a paradoxical situation whereby, through connecting datasets, semantic web initiatives detach localized information from the contexts of its creation. By divorcing content from its contexts, this process establishes new contexts in which necessarily political decisions are being made with far reaching consequences.

This is a topic of a new chapter (that I wrote with Heather Ford) that just arrived on my desk this morning. You can download the piece here:

Ford, H., and Graham, M. 2016. Semantic Cities: Coded Geopolitics and the Rise of the Semantic Web. In Code and the City. eds. Kitchin, R., and Perng, S-Y. London: Routledge. 200-214.

Otherwise, here’s a shorter version I wrote in Slate:

Graham, M. 2015. Why Does Google Say Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel Slate.com Nov 30, 2015

We also have an earlier blog and webcast on the topic (and here's Washington Post’s coverage of our work). 

image

image
New job working with the Geonet team at the Oxford Internet Institute: 'Researcher in ICTs, Geography and Development'

We are now hiring a researcher to work with us to investigate low-wage digital work being carried out in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Oxford Internet Institute is a leading centre for research into individual, collective and institutional behaviour on the Internet. We are looking for a full-time Researcher to work with Professor Mark Graham on the ERC-funded project Geonet: Investigating the Changing Connectivities and Potentials of Sub-Saharan Africa’s Knowledge Economy. Combining archival research, surveys, and in-depth interviews, this ambitious project will critically assess the changing landscape of digital work in Sub-Saharan Africa, and ask who benefits (and who doesn’t) from those changes.

In this exciting role, the Researcher will carry out 9-12 months of fieldwork among digital workers and organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as working at OII’s premises in Oxford. The Researcher will also contribute to the dissemination of the findings through peer-reviewed academic papers, project reports, events, blogs and social media.

Candidates should have experience of social science research in Development Studies, Geography, Sociology, Social Anthropology, Communications, Organization Studies, Management or related disciplines, training and practical experience in qualitative research methods.

Based primarily at the Oxford Internet Institute (with periods of fieldwork), this position is available immediately for 3 years in the first instance, with the possibility of renewal thereafter, funding permitting. For qualified candidates, there may also be opportunities to teach course modules on our ‘Social Science of the Internet’ MSc course.

The application form and further details, including a job description and selection criteria, are available on Oxford University’s recruitment website.

The closing date for applications is 12:00 BST on Thursday 3 September 2015 and only applications received before then can be considered. Interviews for those short-listed are currently planned to take place in the week commencing Monday 21 September 2015.