How I explain in my presentation, during the last four years I have started a process of learning. For this reason, I presented a complete project of research (abstract) in order to develop into the Information and Knowledge Society Doctoral Programme at Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) of UOC.
My experience in some professional projects related to ITC and rural development and the academic career about the Network Society approach me to this proposal. The interest for research has given me a rigorous point of view to be applied to professional projects. In addition, my experience in professional projects gives me some examples for academic research.
Rural Development is a valuable concept for the development of any country. If we speak about economic development in any country, we should not forget rural areas. Their specific characteristics, geographical situation, demographic evolution and socio-economic development are more difficult than other geographical areas.
Throughout history, rural world has needed to develop collaborative ways to work together. These relationships have turned into communities: social and economic spaces. These organizations responded to their member needs to share and create more beneficial ways to collaborate. Beyond traditional forms of collaboration (guilds, associations, organizations, etc.), the rural world has developed other kind of synergies to benefit their members.
This project deals with analysing how the new tools associated with the Network Society allow the rural world to begin new ways to (socially) relate and to (economically) develop on the Internet. However, the existing organizations have the opportunity to adopt new structures and new forms to communicate through technological tools, and to collaborate online.
That is the reason why, governments carry out rural development policies in most countries. For instance, the European Union encourages policies at a European level for rural economic development through the LEADER programme.
My focus is Catalonia, where rural areas were the most important communities from the IX century until the second half of XIX century. Then, the Industrial Revolution changed demography, social-economic relations and led the rural areas to a non-developed stage.
On the one hand, my main interest is focused on the observation of the agricultural food product launched by a producer or a community of producers. On the other hand, a community of consumers concentrates around that product. The project herein focuses on the influence of the ITC in those communities, which is the aim of this research.
This proposal begins with a previous research, the final project of the Master in Information and Knowledge Society: The rural Catalan communities facing the Information and Knowledge Society new scenario, the case of ‘La Conca de Barberà’. (Espelt, 2011). This experience has given me the possibility to taste an approach to this research field.
The results and conclusions I got in that first research have encouraged me to present this proposal. My research is an approach to the rural development in the era of digital revolution. I have worked to build a new academic literature point of view and research methodology to the rural development. My approach works in relation to the different disciplines of ICT4D (Information and Communication Technologies for Development) and to the economic history of cooperatives.
I hope my contribution will help this mission. Any comment or reference could be useful for me. Thanks in advance!