A multidisciplinary research and teaching department of the University of Oxford, dedicated to the social science of the Internet.

Information Geography and Inequality

Questions of equality and social justice are as important as ever in the information age. Do Internet technologies give rise to radical social change, or do they just reproduce existing social and economic divisions and relationships? By changing how people and organisations interact with each other, ICTs disrupt and reconfigure social networks, information and value flows, and geographic space: but who exactly profits?

People: Mark Graham, Vili LehdonvirtaGrant Blank, Rebecca Eynon, Sanna Ojanperä

Research

Through surveys, interviews and mapping of virtual labour and knowledge economies, we’re examining the differences being made by ICTs and changing connectivities at the world’s economic peripheries, and critically considering what ‘development’ is (and should be) in a hyper-connected age. In particular, we aim to understand the current and potential impact of ICTs on social and economic development, and on value flows from new ‘virtual’ economic activities and work. While there are hopes that the Internet will collapse distance and provide everyone with access to global markets, inequalities in wages and workers’ rights complicates the picture—the Internet doesn’t just ‘create’ development: it takes place against a background of older processes of dependence, underdevelopment, and economic extraversion.

  • The Geonet project

    Examining the geographies, drivers, and effects of Sub-Saharan Africa's emerging information economies at a time of changing connectivity and Internet access acros the region.

  • Internet Geographies

    How data, visualisations, and maps can tell a story about three key facets of global information geographies: information access, production, and representation.

  • Who represents the Arab world online?

    We are mapping and measuring local knowledge production and representation in the Middle East and North Africa.

  • Does Wikipedia represent the sum of all human knowledge?

    This project aims to build a series of visualizations to investigate the geographical scope of Wikipedia.

Publications

The below are a few publications in this area: for complete lists of outputs, please refer to individual faculty biographies.

Our research is organised in eight broad themes, where the Internet is having a significant effect on social, economic and political activity worldwide.

  • Digital Economies
  • Digital Knowledge and Culture
  • Digital Politics and Government
  • Education, Digital Life and Wellbeing
  • Ethics and Philosophy of Information
  • Information Geography and Inequality
  • Information Governance and Security
  • Social Data Science