The Oceanic Digital Revolution Today: Experiences, Trends and Challenges

Abstract : The goal of this article is to develop a regionally, ethnographically and netnographically grounded perspective on first experiences with, trends in, and the challenges accompanying the sudden and widespread proliferation of digital information-communication technologies (ICTs) across Oceania, from mobile phones to the online classroom. Recognizing that digital ICTs cannot merely be understood as a homogenizing force but that also digital worlds develop hybrid cultures wherein local particularities interact with global generalities in ways that are unique to any given place and time, I set out to uncover the very dynamics that constitute the Oceanic digital revolution today. For this purpose I propose to synthesize a ‘proto-canon’ of research on digital Oceania that is ethnographically situated in 12 months of field research on the digital culture of the Lau People in rural and urban Solomon Islands (Lau Lagoon, Malaita, and Honiara). By examining region-wide trends in netnography, ethnographic studies done through ICTs, and digital anthropology, ethnographic studies of ICTs, I ask to what extent and how ICTs constitute new forms of interacting and navigating in between and across the Sea of Islands and the ocean that has traditionally connected, and intertwined, a geographically vast and culturally heterogeneous region. What opportunities are digital connections affording to Pacific Islanders and Pacific Islands states, from disaster response to increased access to secondary and post-secondary education; and what are the challenges that emerge from new technologies and their integration in often vulnerable lives such as potential increases in human trafficking? I suggest that especially in view of promises made by digital development and e-government, a more comprehensive understanding of the particularities of the Oceanic digital revolution are indispensable to harness the potentials of digital ICTs rather than their pitfalls.
Keywords : Digital Culture
Document type :
Conference papers
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Contributor : Geoffrey Hobbis <>
Submitted on : Sunday, October 11, 2015 - 12:53:15 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 2:28:48 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-01214271, version 1



Geoffrey Hobbis. The Oceanic Digital Revolution Today: Experiences, Trends and Challenges. Empires and Cultures of the Pacific, The 21st annual conference of the New Zealand Studies Association, Jul 2015, Wien, Austria. ⟨halshs-01214271⟩



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