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When technology doesn't fit: information sharing practices among farmers in rural China

Oreglia, Elisa (2013) When technology doesn't fit: information sharing practices among farmers in rural China. In: Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development: Full Papers.

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Alternative Location: http://dl.acm.org/authorize?N82427

Abstract

Mobile phones and the Internet are increasingly available in rural China, and used by people of all ages and educational levels. But despite the significant investments made by the Chinese State to "informatize" rural areas in order to help local residents improve their lives and economic opportunities, ICT do not seem to find a place in the one activity that still dominates the countryside: farming. This paper draws from ethnographic findings to show how the gathering and sharing of agricultural information is organized in rural China. By using a Community of Practice framework, it argues that ICT are not (yet) used by farmers because farming is a distributed social activity, where the individual farmer makes individual decisions, but these decisions are shaped by the decisions, expectations, examples and judgment of the community as a whole, a body of increasingly older people who are not always interested in maximizing their income and/or changing their practices to increase efficiency---through ICT or other means. Moreover, the rich and layered local knowledge built within the community is mostly based on oral exchanges and face-to-face encounters, and often relies on family ties and clan networks to evaluate the trustworthiness of communication. These patterns of communication are still not well supported by informatization projects and have proven resistant to such efforts.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Items (Paper)
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Centre for Media Studies
Depositing User: Elisa Oreglia
Date Deposited: 31 May 2016 09:49
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/22517

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