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Searching for ‘Digital Asia’ in its Networks: Where the Spatial Turn Meets the Digital Turn

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image of Asiascape: Digital Asia

This article examines how digital methods can provide a way to search for ‘Digital Asia’ in its networks, interfaces, and media contents. Using the example of higher education institutions in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Taipei, the paper explores how search engines, institutional homepages, and hyperlink networks provide access into the workings and representations of academia online. The article finds that even a seemingly cosmopolitan endeavour such as academia exists in rather parochial spheres, and that users that enter those spheres do so in highly biased ways. Further reviewing the digital tools that lead to these findings, the article also argues that while digital methods promise to bring together the ‘digital turn’ and the ‘spatial turn’ in the humanities and social sciences, they also pose new challenges. These include theoretical concerns, like the risk of implicitly reproducing views of neoliberal modernity, but also practical concerns related to digital literacy.

Affiliations: 1: Leiden


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