Cartographic attributes of the invisible – the geographies of the platform economy
Geographers have long been interested in the spaces brought into being by the internet. More recent framings instead see digital geographies as always-augmented, hybrid, and ontogenetic: integrally embedded into everyday life.
Geographers have long been interested in the spaces brought into being by the internet. In the early days of the Web, digital technologies were seen as tools that could bring a heterotopic cyberspace into being: a place beyond space de-tethered from the material world.
More recent framings instead see digital geographies as always-augmented, hybrid, and ontogenetic: integrally embedded into everyday life.
Against that backdrop, Professor Mark Graham will present findings from three large research projects about digital platforms. First, a large-scale digital mapping project that looks at how digital inequalities can become infused into our urban landscapes. Second, a study about the livelihoods of platform workers in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Finally, early results from a new action research project (the Fairwork Foundation) designed to improve the quality of platform jobs.
In each case, the talk explores why understanding the ways that platforms command digital geographies is a crucial prerequisite for envisioning more equitable digital futures.
This talk will be followed by a drinks reception, all welcome
About the speakers
Professor Mark GrahamAffiliation: Oxford Internet Institute
Mark is the Professor of Internet Geography at the Oxford Internet Institute, a Faculty Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute, a Senior Research Fellow at Green Templeton College, a Research Affiliate in the University of Oxford’s School of Geography and the Environment, a Research Associate at the Centre for Information Technology and National Development in Africa at the University of Cape Town, and a Visiting Researcher at Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung and Technische Universität Berlin. He leads a range of research projects spanning topics between digital labour, the gig economy, internet geographies, and ICTs and development.
Digital Geographies is Mark’s most long-standing research area. He asks how people and places are ever more defined by, and made visible through, not only their traditional physical locations and properties, but also their virtual attributes and digital shadows. If the places that we live in are increasingly digital, then there are important questions about who controls, and has access to, our digitally-augmented and digitally-mediated worlds. He has written about this topic in both the academic and popular press.