Despite an unprecedented presence of digital technologies in the everyday, a clear urban/non-urban divide in accessing and effectively using the internet remains. This divide is identifiable not only in the Global South—perceived as peripheral—but also in the Global North—regarded as advanced and the motor of technological development. Such a phenomenon suggests the emergence and endurance of socio-technological peripheries, places where socio-spatial inequalities are reinforced by unjust access to the internet.
To understand how such peripherality is manifested and challenged in rurban settings—where the rural and the urban mingle and clash—the first part of this book draws from dependency theory and the decolonial thinking to discuss the impacts of uneven production, access, and use of digital technology. The second part draws on Actor-Network Theory as a methodological frame to understand the recursive entwinement of the everyday and the use of the internet in three villages: two in Brazil and one in the UK. By bringing to the fore challenges that cross North-South divides, Digital Peripheries proposes an open theory of the connected rurban as a framework that addresses and accommodates the specificities of these communities in the twenty-first century.
Lorena Melgaço is an urban scholar navigating the multilevel entwinement of digital technologies and the production of space, especially in the postcolony. Her research interests include the micropolitics of socio-spatial and technological peripheralisation; the intersections of technological dependency, capitalist production of space, and the socio-environmental crisis in planning; and the challenges of planning education and practice from a socio-spatial justice perspective.
Chapter 1: The Emergence of the Connected Rurban: An Introduction to the Process of Socio-Technological Peripheralization
Part 1: Developing An Appropriate Lens To Look At The Connected Rurban: A Multilevel Approach
Chapter 2: Setting The Context
Chapter 3: Peripherality And The Everyday Of The Rurban: Rethinking Methodology
Part 2: An Introduction To The Everyday: On People, Places And The Internet
Chapter 4: Santo Antônio do Salto
Chapter 5: Pendeen
Chapter 6: Noiva do Cordeiro
Part 3: From The Global To The Everyday And Back Again: Bottom-Bottom Tactics As Means To Social Transformation?
Chapter 7: Understanding Multilevel Peripherality In The Connected Rurban
Chapter 8. A Conclusion, Or The Opening For Another Conversation: For An Open Theory Of The Connected Rurban
About the Author
In Digital Peripheries, Lorena Melgaço urges readers to think beyond the urban—on to the rurban—to understand the role of digital technologies. This book gives an extraordinary insight to the inequalities of, but also the changes that come with, internet access in peripheral areas of the UK and Brazil. This is a highly needed addition to existing literature on smart urban developments, where the everyday in peripheral places is set into the limelight, changing the perspective’.
Drawing upon rich research on communities in Brazil and the UK, Melgaço illuminates the cultural and technological capacities of these peripheral communities to challenge techno-social marginalization. In these times of the dystopian impacts of global technological practices on local communities, this volume presents a refreshing and valuable lens to reflect on whether the internet can still foster a community model that enables social transformation.