Warped Geographies of Development: The Internet and Theories of Economic Development

Geography Compass, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 771-789, 2008

19 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2009

See all articles by Mark Graham

Mark Graham

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Date Written: October 8, 2008

Abstract

The Internet is frequently touted as the engine of a new revolution that can eliminate poverty and bring prosperity to producers of crafts and commodities in economically impoverished areas of the world. ‘E-Commerce’, ‘Commodity chains’, the ‘digital divide’, and ‘disintermediation’ are all inherently geographical ideas, as well as being integral components to many theories of economic development. However, despite a movement by geographers to recognize the nuanced relationships between the Internet and geography, such ideas have remained largely absent from much development discourse. By reviewing writing on geographical concepts such as ‘commodity chains’, the ‘digital divide’, ‘disintermediation’, and ‘e-commerce’ within the contexts of contemporary debates about development, this paper highlights some of the geographic assumptions wrapped up in a range of theories of development and shows how these spatial assumptions matter. The paper concludes by reflecting on alternate geographic metaphors that could be employed within development discourse to better express the complicated and spatially contingent relationships between ICTs, geography, and economic development.

Keywords: international trade, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), networks, globalization, poverty, technology, neoliberalism, internet, development, ICT, disintermediation

Suggested Citation

Graham, Mark, Warped Geographies of Development: The Internet and Theories of Economic Development (October 8, 2008). Geography Compass, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 771-789, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1485377

Mark Graham (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.geospace.co.uk

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