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Rethinking Remoteness and Peripherality
This international conference explores the concepts of remoteness and peripherality. These concepts are used in numerous disciplines, including geography, development studies, anthropology, spatial planning, and cultural studies. But what do remoteness and peripherality mean in practice, from the perspectives of the people and places deemed to be remote and peripheral? ‘Remote’ and ‘peripheral’ presume a centring of (potentially colonial) power elsewhere and tend to be defined in terms of accessibility to major urban areas.
Are remoteness and peripherality essentially relative concepts, only comprehensible with reference to the near and the central? Can remoteness and peripherality ever be experienced internally, or are they simply projections from the outside? If political, economic, and social power rest with the big cities and centres, is it fruitful or is it damaging to cast some communities as remote and peripheral? Notions of ‘remote’ and ‘peripheral’ connote economic stagnation, decay, and underdevelopment (or absence of development) and are associated with a lack of connectivity, indicating a local state of de-
This Island Dynamics conference is a collaboration with: RMIT University’s School of Global, Urban and Social Studies and the Centre for Global Research, Melbourne, Australia.
About the conference.
REMOTE allows delegates to contextualise knowledge and engage with the local community. 16 January is devoted to a day-
© Heinrich Eggenfellner
About Longyearbyen, Svalbard.
Longyearbyen (population 2200) is the world’s northernmost town, the main settlement on Norway’s vast, largely ice-
Longyearbyen is iconically remote and peripheral, but the town is also highly cosmopolitan, hosting residents from over 40 nations, an active cultural life, and an economy based on tourism and mining activities. The community is young, close-