CfP for sessions at GCEG: Digital Economies, Digital Connectivity, Digital Margins

The Geonet team will attend next year’s Global Conference of Economic Geography (GCEG) in full strength, running two hopefully lively sessions. Both run under the larger theme “Digital Economies, Digital Connectivity, Digital Margins.” Papers can be submitted between 15 Nov 2017 and 15 March 2018 on the GCEG website (


Digital Economies, Digital Connectivity, Digital Margins

Paper Sessions for the 5th Global Conference of Economic Geography in Cologne

Mark Graham, Nicolas Friederici, Mohammad Amir Anwar, Sanna Ojanperä, Michel Wahome (Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford)

People, places, and processes are becoming digital, digitised, and digitally-mediated at an astonishing pace. A majority of the world’s wealthy have long been connected, but it is the world’s poor and economically marginal that have only relatively recently been enrolled into digital networks. In 2017, for the first time in human history, over half of the humanity can be considered to be internet users. At the same time, hugely transformative changes are occurring in the global economy. First, an ever-increasing amount of economic value creation is affected by the digitisation of goods, processes and services. Second, places in every corner of the planet aspire to become centres of digital production and entrepreneurship.

Our two sessions seek to bring together scholarship that directly addresses issues of changing connectivities and the effects that those changes have on, and in, economic margins (i.e., across the Global South or economic peripheries within the North). They seek to move beyond over-simplified narratives about whether digital tools and technologies are a panacea for development.

Session I: Development, Entrepreneurship, and Inequality

The first session hopes to bring together papers that explore the nuanced ways in which digital technology shapes opportunity and value creation in economic peripheries. In other words, the session wants to unpack the complex economic changes that digital connectivity has inflicted upon economic actors (people, organizations) and contexts (institutions, infrastructures, etc.) at global margins.

Papers could address some of the following themes:

  • The contribution of digital connectivity to economic inequality (at any level)
  • Innovative ways to measure digital economies, especially local development effects
  • Changes to rural and urban economic geographies arising from digital connectivity
  • How value creation and digital production processes are anchored in peripheries
  • Interplay between analog and digital in value creation and entrepreneurship processes
  • Effects of digital technologies on clustering in peripheries
  • Processes and practices of digital entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial ecosystems
  • The nature, origins, and roles of human capital and skills for digital entrepreneurship and production
  • Demographies and biographies of digital entrepreneurs and highly skilled freelancers

Session II: Digital Labor and Production Networks

Our second session seeks to bring together scholarship that directly addresses issues of changing connectivities and its effects on digital labour and production networks. We are defining digital labour to include a wide variety of work practices, which, both at individual and organisation-level, can be outsourced through the internet including but not limited to web development, graphic designs, software development, transcription, editing, article writing, proof-reading, data entry, virtual assistant, customer support, etc.

This session hopes to bring together papers from a variety of theoretical and empirical perspectives that explore the nuanced ways in which digital labour in economic margins is incorporated into the global production networks. In doing so, it aims to explore what the changing connectivities mean for economic geography of work and its implications on labour in economic margins, particularly for economic inclusion, exclusion, upgrading, downgrading, etc.

Papers could address:

  • Divides and positionalities in digital or digitized value chains and production networks (incl. digital production and online labor)
  • The nature, origins, roles and formation of human capital and skills in digital labour
  • Demographies and biographies of digital workers, entrepreneurs, and freelancers
  • Articulation of previously disconnected labour forces into the global markets
  • Development implications of digital economies and connectivities on digital labour
  • New labour market segmentation, regulation, institutions, rural-urban [re]structuring of labour markets
  • Labour standards, social upgrading, labour control, alienation, workers’ agency, collective organisations and collective actions, etc. in new digital production networks


Please submit your abstract directly through the GCEG website, any time between 15 November 2017 and 15 March 2018: If you have questions, feel free to contact Mark Graham (, Nicolas Friederici (, Mohammad Amir Anwar (, or Sanna Ojanperä (