Jessica McLean is a Senior Lecturer in Geography at Macquarie University, who is researching digital geographies and social change.
Her book 'Changing Digital Geographies: Technologies, Environments and People' (2019) examines the changing digital geographies of the Anthropocene. It analyses how technologies are providing new opportunities for communication and connection, while simultaneously deepening existing problems associated with isolation, global inequity and environmental harm. By offering a reading of digital technologies as ‘more-than-real’, I argue that the productive and destructive possibilities of digital geographies are changing important aspects of human and non-human worlds. Like the more-than-human notion and how it emphasises interconnections of humans and non-humans in the world, the more-than-real inverts the diminishing that accompanies use of the terms ‘virtual’ and ‘immaterial’ as applied to digital spaces.
Digital geographies are fluid, amorphous spaces made of contradictory possibilities in this Anthropocene moment. By sharing experiences of people involved in trying to improve digital geographies, this book offers stories of hope and possibility alongside stories of grief and despair. The more-than-real concept can help us understand such work – by feminists, digital rights activists, disability rights activists, environmentalists and more. Drawing on case studies from around the world, this book will appeal to academics, university students, and activists who are keen to learn from other people’s efforts to change digital geographies, and who also seek to remake digital geographies.
Jess did her PhD research with Miriwoong and Gajerrong people in the Kimberley, examining changes in resource management processes in that context. Water matters in the Ord formed the focus of that research, including whether Indigenous peoples' water values and rights are recognised in the OFA, and more broadly in that part of northern Australia.