Online Journal of Space Communication


No research has been conducted to examine how people in the countryside of Mongolia use the Internet and what social and cultural influences the Internet bring to these people. This study focuses on the geographical and cultural aspects of the digital divide in the Gobi desert of Mongolia. In this paper, I argue that the Internet brings a sense of mobility to people in remote Mongolia, which lets them move through social spaces. In the Gobi Desert the Internet has begun to break the geo-spatial notion of local vs. global. People in the Gobi Desert already use instant and mobile phone messaging to break the main narrative of social hierarchy. The change in the notion of spatiality undermines the notion of national identity. I also argue that the accessibility of information exacerbates the national identity gap between rural and urban areas in Mongolia. Finally, this study explores the relationship between social space, technology and language. While the Internet changes the notion of physical and social spaces, language barriers remain.

In-depth interviews were conducted through interactive chat and over the phone with an expert group in the Gobi Desert. Also the author was involved in the process of establishing the Internet café in the Gobi desert.



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