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Julia Binder & Ariane Sept: Debordered Materiality and Digital Biographies: Digital Transformation in Rural-Peripheral Areas. [Abstract]

Our paper addresses the interplay between digitalization and spatiality, asking how digital transformation processes are affected by peripheral spatial location. The short-term processes of digitalization and its implications for spatiality are widely addressed, especially with regard to urban development and planning, but rural-peripheral areas and periods of medium duration are only rarely the subject of research. Therefore, from a spatial planning perspective our central question is: What role is attributed to materiality in digital social transformation processes in rural-peripheral areas? Employing a multi-sited methodological approach – a sample in two rural regions and two villages in Eastern and Western Germany – the focus is placed on individual digital biographies related to physical, information, and communication technology artefacts. Against the backdrop of Karen Barad’s concept of materiality as a constant intra-activity, we discuss digital transformation at the margins with respect to the aspects of newness, specificity, and qualities. This allows us to show different sequences of digitalization that are characterized by specific roles for materiality and spatial location, the changing importance of peripherality, and increasing debordered materiality.

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