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[liberationtech] CfP: Promoting rural resilience within a digital society

Yosem Companys companys at
Fri Feb 22 00:01:22 PST 2013

From: Mark Gaved <Mark.Gaved at>

ESRS Congress        Florence, 29 July - 1st August 2013

Rural resilience and vulnerability: the rural as locus of solidarity and  conflict in times of crisis

Abstracts of papers are invited for a Working Group entitled:

'Promoting rural resilience within a digital society'

Liz Roberts, Lorna Philip, Claire Wallace, Leanne Townsend, David Beel
(dot.rural Digital Economy Hub, University of Aberdeen)
Contact: e.roberts at

This Working Group will bring together rural scholars to discuss the challenges, opportunities and responses associated with developments in ICT and how these may be harnessed to promote inclusive, resilient rural communities.

Developments in information and communication technology (ICT) are transforming communities across the world. These developments areproviding opportunities for innovative research across the social sciences. The emerging research agenda, and associated policy strategies and priorities, often has an aspatial or an urban focus. Yet there are considerable opportunities presented to rural scholars to interrogate the ways in which such technologies and their use can address the challenges faced by rural communities and promote cohesion, identities and social inclusion. These challenges include, for example: small and dispersed populations; demographic ageing; poor access to healthcare and education; stresses in the public sector; fragile local economies and labour markets; and conflicting demands associated with maintaining a productive yet environmentally sustainable rural environment. A developing body of academic output is exploring the potential of ICT developments to address these challenges. This Working Group will introduce examples of this output.

Notwithstanding interventions at EU and nation state levels, the (private sector) markets that drive developments in ICT infrastructure look to areas with large populations where their profits can be maximized. Sparsely populated and remote communities are often overlooked by the market as the returns they offer are less attractive. Although the rural- urban digital divide is acknowledged by the research and policy communities, many rural areas are constantly playing 'catch-up' as technological developments continue apace. Whilst these technological developments have considerable potential to assist in meeting many of the challenges faced inday-to-day rural living, rural communities often lack access to ICT infrastructure and are thus excluded from the opportunities ICT could bring.

Contributions are welcome which address ways that rural communities can exploit the opportunities offered by the digital society including, but not restricted to the following topics:?Rural service provision; rural regeneration and economic development; community participation and activism; entrepreneurialism; the conservation of natural and built
environments; tourism; connectivity and social networking within and across communities; facilitating cultural engagement;heritage and identity; and the inclusion and empowerment of vulnerable groups.

The Working Group will run two sessions of four 15-minute presentations followed by extended discussion, in which opportunities for future collaborative research can be initiated.

Expressions of interest in this Working Group should take the form of 250 word abstracts submitted by 1st March 2013 through the link on the conference website

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