Platform peasants: Smallholders, speculation and digital transformations in Myanmar

A Development Research seminar with Dr Hilary Faxon
Assistant professor
Dr Hilary Faxon
Find out more about Dr Hilary Faxon
Date
Thursday 4 Apr 2024, 16:15 - 17:30
Type
Seminar
Spoken Language
English
Room
Room 4.39
Location
International Institute of Social Studies
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Hilary Faxon

What is the relationship between platform capitalism and agrarian change? 

In this Development Research Seminar, Dr Hilary Faxon investigates the 'platform peasant', questioning dominant narrratives of development studies.

Digital platforms pose new puzzles for development studies. While classic formulations of the agrarian question, which queries how capitalism restructures agriculture, have considered mechanization, they have had little to say about digital transformation. Yet today technologies like sensors and social media are reshaping agrarian practices, political economy and politics. 

Drawing on a decade of ethnographic research in Myanmar, this talk demonstrates how Facebook is reshaping smallholder production, social reproduction and mobilization while accelerating speculation in volatile land markets. 

These empirical and conceptual insights lead to the 'platform peasant': a figure that troubles dominant narratives, brings together diverse literatures and points towards a research agenda for understanding the relationships between platform capitalism and agrarian change. 

 About the speaker

Dr Hilary Faxon is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Social Science at the University of Montana and a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Copenhagen. 

Her research, teaching and public scholarship investigate environment, development and technology with a focus on social justice in the Global South. 

Her work on smallholders, speculation and social media in Myanmar has been published in journals such as Environment and Planning D; Antipode; Agriculture and Human Values; Big Data & Society; and Annals of the American Association of Geographers.

More information

The Development Research seminars present cutting-edge research on development studies by noted scholars from around the world. The Series aims to stimulate critical discussion about contemporary development issues.

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