This paper utilises a community resilience framework to critically examine the digital-rural policy agenda. Rural areas are sometimes seen as passive and static, set in contrast to the mobility of urban, technological and globalisation processes (Bell et al., 2010). In response to notions of rural decline (McManus et al., 2012) rural resilience literature posits rural communities as ‘active,’ and ‘proactive’ about their future (Skerratt, 2013), developing processes for building capacity and resources. We bring together rural development and digital policy-related literature, using resilience motifs developed from recent academic literature, including community resilience, digital divides, digital inclusion, and rural information and communication technologies (ICTs). Whilst community broadband initiatives have been linked to resilience (Plunkett-Carnegie, 2012; Heesen et al., 2013) digital inclusion, and engagement with new digital technologies more broadly, have not. We explore this through three resilience motifs: resilience as multi-scalar; as entailing normative assumptions; and as integrated and place-sensitive. We point to normative claims about the capacity of digital technology to aid rural development, to offer solutions to rural service provision and the challenges of implementing localism. Taking the UK as a focus, we explore the various scales at which this is evident, from European to UK country-level.
- Digital inclusion
- Rural development