This course will introduce students to the debates and practices surrounding economic development and digital capitalism: with a particular focus on the world’s economic margins. It will draw on resources from Anthropology, Development Studies, Sociology, Economics, and Geography in order to examine the theoretical and conceptual frameworks that underpin development – as a practice, as a subject of research, and as a discourse. The course then examples key examples and practices in the digital economy that impact on the economic positionalities of people and practices at economic peripheries.

ICTs have the power to fundamentally transform the economic, social and political relationships in poorer parts of our planet. However, potentials often do not translate into realities, and it is important to be aware of not only the promises, but also the perils of the transformative nature of digital technologies.

Course Objectives

This course will expose students to some of the key debates about digital transformations occurring in the world’s economic margins. Students will be familiarised with a variety of theoretical movements in development studies and internet studies. Students will be encouraged to critically examine the notion of development, how it can be achieved, and whose needs it meets best. The course ultimately aims to encourage students to ask questions about digital technologies and power: who do they empower?; who do they disempower?

Seven topics will be covered: Uneven development, Development in a Connected Society, Platform Capitalism and Changing Connectivities, Data Colonialism, AI, Automation, and The Global South, Digital Labour and Resistance, and Digital Utopias

Learning Outcomes

Upon course completion students will:

  • Have a familiarity with key debates relating to economic development and global margins.
  • Have a sophisticated understanding of the potential for the internet and other digital technologies to alter the practice of development in the Global South.
  • Be able to formulate well-grounded research questions on topics related to roles played digital technologies at economic margins.
  • Be able to link development and internet studies theory and practice.
This page was last modified on 7 August 2019