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Connectivity & entrepreneurship discourse: new CfP for AAG 2016 in San Francisco

Published on
29 Sep 2015
Written by
Nicolas Friederici

IMG_20141119_164950Two of us just put out a last-minute CfP for next year’s AAG. This ties into our GeoNet work (especially under the Innovation Hubs pillar) and in my dissertation work. Please share widely and submit by Oct 19 if you have suitable work in progress.


CfP AAG 2016: The productive power of connectivity and entrepreneurship discourses at economic margins

AAG Annual Meeting, San Francisco, March 29 – April 2, 2016

Organizers: Nicolas Friederici and Mark Graham, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Two forces of change are increasingly promoted as drivers of socio-economic development at the world’s economic margins: the rise of entrepreneurship and the diffusion of technologies of connectivity (the Internet, mobile phones, and Web-enabled devices). Blogs, newspapers, and donor communication abound with references to sweeping development gains, speaking of “transformation” (The Economist 2014), “technological leapfrogging” (Kimenyi 2015), the “data revolution” (Lawrence 2015), or “acceleration” (Omidyar Network 2013) that are driven by entrepreneurs and the spread of ICTs.

This session asks what the consequences of connectivity and entrepreneurship discourse are for economic life at the margins. We invite a range of disciplinary perspectives, both theoretical and empirical studies, as well as case studies. We ask submitted abstracts to address questions such as:

  • What key assumptions are embedded into the coming-together of discourses of connectivity and entrepreneurship?
  • Who is driving these discourses? What are the respective roles of the international development sector, foundations, consultancies, grassroots actors, local and international media, and others? What are their motivations?
  • What sorts of economic realities, subjects, and places are produced by such discourses?
  • How do such discourses morph as their focus shifts from economic centres to economic margins? Who benefits from overly optimistic and hyperbolic discourses about the potentials of connectivity and entrepreneurship for economic development?

To be considered for the session, please send your abstract of 250 words or fewer, to: and

The deadline for receipt of abstracts is October 19, 2015. Notification of acceptance will be before October 23. All accepted papers will then need to register for the AAG conference before Oct 29 at Accepted papers will be considered for an edited volume edited by the organizers.


Kimenyi, Mwangi S. 2015. “Leapfrogging Traditional Service Delivery Constraints in Africa through Mobile Technologies.” The Brookings Institution. March 11.

Lawrence, Neil. 2015. “How Africa Can Benefit from the Data Revolution.” The Guardian, August 25, sec. Media Network.

Omidyar Network. 2013. Accelerating Entrepreneurship in Africa Report.

The Economist. 2014. “The Rise of Africapitalism,” November 20.

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