Mark Graham is an Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, a Research Fellow at Green Templeton College, and an Associate in the University of Oxford's School of Geography and the Environment. 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 media. He is an editorial board member of Information, Communication, and Society, Geo:Geography, Environment and Planning A, and Big Data & Society. He is also a member of DFID's Digital Advisory Panel and the ESRC's Peer Review College. 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.
Abstract: In most of the world's low-income countries, unemployment is a major social and economic concern for policy makers. South Africa, for instance, has a youth unemployment rate of almost 50%. At the same time, we are currently at a moment in which 3 billion people now are connected to the Internet: a majority of whom live in low-income countries. In response to this convergence of poverty and connectivity, many international development organisations have been attracted to digital labour as a way of bringing jobs to the world's poor. This seminar draws on initial findings from an ongoing, mixed-method research project investigating value networks, discourses, and practices of digital labour in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. It allows us to begin to address whether any global inequalities can be effectively addressed through digital labour or whether such practices only reproduce and expand exploitative relationships.