Professor Mark Graham

Mark Graham is a geographer that focuses on economic development, labour, power, participation, and representation.

Email: mark.graham@oii.ox.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)1865 287203

Mark Graham is the Professor of Internet Geography at the OII, a Faculty Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute, a Senior Research Fellow at Green Templeton College, an Associate in the University of Oxford’s School of Geography and the Environment, and a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Media and Communications in the London School of Economics and Political Science.

He has published articles in major geography, communications, and urban studies journals, and his work has been covered by the Economist, the BBC, the Washington Post, CNN, the Guardian, and many other international newspapers and magazines. He is an editorial board member of Information, Communication, and SocietyGeo:Geography, Environment and Planning A, and Big Data & Society.  In 2014, he was awarded a European Research Council Starting Grant to lead a team to study ‘knowledge economies’ in Sub-Saharan Africa over five years.

He leads a range of research projects spanning topics between digital labour, the gig economy, internet geographies, and ICTs and development; and is accepting PhD students with an interest in any of that work.

He has spent the last few years investigating the implications of new types of digital labour and online freelancing for workers in the Global South. This research is ongoing in his team’s research on outsourcing and microwork. At the moment, the tens of millions of workers who do digital work do so in a largely unregulated and socially disembedded way. This clearly benefits some workers, but we should also worry about a race to the bottom occurring as ever more people come online.

He also teaches a course at the OII called ‘ICT and Development‘ that focuses on the winners and losers in the contexts of rapidly changing global connectivity. His current research on this topic looks at digital entrepreneurship and the ways that conditions in African cities shape practices of local entrepreneurs (as part of a large project with Nicolas Friederici about African ‘knowledge economies‘). Previous research has focused on how the internet can impact production networks (of tea, tourism, and outsourcing) in East Africa, and asked who wins and loses from those changes. He also co-founded and leads the ‘Connectivity, Inclusion, and Inequality‘ and ‘Big Data and Human Development‘ research clusters at Oxford.

Digital Geographies his most long-standing research area. He ask 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 extensively about this topic in both the academic and popular press. He also uses a lot of internet geography maps to tell this story.

He is grateful to have had much of my research funded by a donors such as the European Research Council, the ESRC, the British Academy, and the Leverhulme Trust. He is also fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with and collaborate with a diverse group of wonderful scholars and thinkers throughout his career.

Areas of Interest for Doctoral Supervision

Big data,  cultural industries, digital divides, ICT4D, inequality, innovation, open data, public policy, social media, labour, markets, digital labour, geography, transparency, participation, Africa, economic geography, global production networks, ethical consumption, power

Research interests

Internet Geography, ICT for development, digital labour, globalization, economic geography, transportation and communications, social theory, transparency, user-generated content, zombies

Select Current Writing

For more of his writing, please visit his full list of publications.

Positions held at the OII

  • Professor of Internet Geography, July 2016 –
  • Senior Research Fellow and Associate Professor, May 2014 – June 2016
  • Senior Research Fellow, August 2013 – May 2014
  • Director of Research, October 2012 – December 2013
  • Research Fellow, October 2009 – July 2013

Students supervised at the OII

Current students

Past students


Latest blog posts

Current projects

Past projects

Books

Chapters

Conference papers

  • Wood, A., Graham, M., Lehdonvirta, V., Barnard, H. and Hjorth, I. (2016) "Virtual Production Networks: Fixing Commodification and Disembeddedness", Development Studies Association 2016.
  • Ojanpera, S., Graham, M., Straumann, R. and De Sabbata, S. (2016) "Measuring the Contours of the Global Knowledge Economy with a Digital Index", Development Studies Association Conference.
  • Wood, A., Graham, M. and Lehdonvirta, V. (2016) "The new frontier of outsourcing: online labour markets and the consequences for poverty in the Global South.", Work, Employment and Society Conference. SAGE Publications (UK and US).
  • Wood, A., Graham, M., Lehdonvirta, V., Barnard, H. and Hjorth, I. (2016) "Virtual Production Networks: Fixing Commodification and Disembeddedness", GPNs and social upgrading: labour and beyond - Workshop.
  • Kassi, O.A., Lehdonvirta, V., Graham, M., Barnard, H. and Hjorth, I. (2016) “Not a Lot of People Know Where It Is”: Liabilities of Origin in Online Contract Work. Collective Intelligence, NYU, New York, 31 May – 2 September 2016.
  • Smart, C., Donner, J., Graham, M. and ACM (2016) ""Connecting the world from the sky": Spatial discourses around Internet access in the developing world", PROCEEDINGS OF THE EIGHTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES AND DEVELOPMENT (ICTD 2016).
  • Sen, S.W., Ford, H., Musicant, D.R., Graham, M., Keyes, O.S.B. and Hecht, B. (2015) "Barriers to the localness of volunteered geographic information", Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings. 2015-April 197-206.
  • Lehdonvirta, V., Barnard, H., Graham, M. and Hjorth, I. (2014) "Online labour markets - levelling the playing field for international service markets?", IPP2014: Crowdsourcing for Politics and Policy conference, University of Oxford,.
  • Zook, M., Graham, M. and Shelton, T. (2011) "Analyzing global cyberscapes: Mapping geo-coded Internet information", ACM International Conference Proceeding Series. 522-530.

Journal articles

Reports

Other

  • Ojanpera, S. and Graham, M. (2017) Africa's digital knowledge economy worrying. SciDev.Net.
  • Graham, M. (2015) Digital work signals a global race to the bottom. SciDev.Net.
  • Zook, M., Shelton, T., Poorthuis, A., Donohue, R., Wilson, M., Graham, M. and Stephens, M. (2015) What would a floating sheep map?. Lexington, KY: Oves Natantes Press.
  • Wood, A., Graham, M., Anwar, M. and Ramizo Jr, G. Minimum wages on online labour platforms: a response to the ETUI and IG Metall's request for comment.

Internet publications

  • Graham, M. and Wood, A. (2016) Why the digital gig economy needs co-ops and unions. openDemocracy.

Media

  • Ojanpera, S. and Graham, M. (2017) Africa’s digital knowledge economy worrying.
  • ICT and Development

    Introducing the debates and practices surrounding ICT uses in the Global South and Global North, drawing on Anthropology, Development Studies, Economics, Geography and History to examine the theoretical and conceptual frameworks that underpin development.