2016 研究助成 Research Grant Program  /  (B)個人研究助成  (B) Individual Research Grants
(Grant Number)
(Project Title)
Digital Nomads and Social Responsibility in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Paul Green
Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne
(Grant Amount)
企画書・概要 (Abstract of Project Proposal)

    昨今、高等教育を受けた若者の間では、デジタル技術とWiFiを利用して旅をしながら仕事をするという働き方が広がっている。世界 各地を移動しながら働く米国やヨーロッパ、オーストラリアなどの若者は「デジタルノマド」と呼ばれるようになった。デジタルノマドはデジタル世代として社会的責任を果たすことに価値を見出しており、これまでの地域住民と外国人との画一的な関係を払拭して、チェンマイのような場所で グローバルコミュニティとしての新たな価値観の形成に貢献する可能性がある。
    本プロジェクトでは、アイデアやデジタルスキル、言語スキルなどを現地社会とシェアすることによって、デジタルノマドがグローバルコミュニティとしての価値観が形成されるプロセスにいかに積極的に貢献できるかを考察する。具体的には、タイのチェンマイで2か月間にわたって社会参加の状況を観察するほか、インターネットを使用して社会活動家 などへのインタビューも行う。
    本プロジェクトの成果は、会議や専門誌、専用のフェイス ブックページを通じて発表する。フェイスブックページは、信頼できる情報源となり、プロジェクトを世界に発信できるだろう。また本プロジェクトの実施目的、研究手法、及びその成果は、アジアやそれ以外の場所で同様の研究を行う際に転用可能なケーススタディとして活用できる。将来的には、視野を広げ複数拠点で研究を行うための助成金を申請することを視野に、協力者を募る予定である。

    Increasing numbers of young, educated adults are leveraging digital technologies and global wifi access to combine work and travel interests. Originating from the United States, Europe or Australia, these young workers 'on the move' are often referred to as digital nomads. As a digital generation in tune with social responsibility values, they offer the potential to break with traditional local/foreign relationship patterns and contribute to the building of global community values in places such as Chiang Mai, Thailand. The project will consider how digital nomads can actively contribute to this process, through the sharing of ideas, digital skill sets and language skills with the local community. A combination of interviews and participant observation will take place over two months in Chiang Mai; further interviews with social responsibility advocates will be held online. Findings of the project will be disseminated through conference presentations, journal articles and a designated Facebook page that will serve as an 'go to' resource and global showcase for the project. The aims, methods and findings of the project will serve as a transferable case study for other places, in Asia and beyond. Collaborators will be sought, with a view to applying for larger, multi-sited research grants.

実施報告書・概要 (Summary of Final Report)

This project set out to explore how and in what ways digital nomads or location independent professionals can contribute to the building of a fresh set of social and community values in the world today. Increasing numbers of young, educated people, in their 20s and 30s, are leveraging digital technology to combine work and travel interests. They travel with diverse skill sets and work interests, as software developers, online teachers, entrepreneurs and digital marketers, as examples. The project specifically asked how these ‘workers on the move’ could build relationships with local communities, perhaps by working with local charities, schools, or organisations, or collaborating with local entrepreneurs. The findings of this project derived from ethnographic research conducted in the prominent digital nomad hub of Chiang Mai, Thailand. This research was augmented by participant observation at a Coworking conference in Penang, Malaysia, and through extensive online engagement and interviews with digital nomads and their social worlds, of blogs, vlogs, Facebook groups and other online mediums of communication.

Results from the project have highlighted the ongoing social impact that some individual nomads have made in places like Chiang Mai. Research has also revealed the real and potential importance of coworking spaces, that can act as a mediator and conduit for connecting nomads to local projects and initiatives. Digital technology is also playing an important role in the facilitating of such connections, through Facebook groups and the development of online social impact initiatives. The ability of nomads to appreciate place and local community, on these terms, is compromised in part by immigration and visa frameworks which categorise nomads as short-term travellers or tourists. The project has nevertheless yielded two institutional avenues through which worker-travellers may be able to establish new values, both now and in the future, in places like Chiang Mai. Firstly, research highlights the institutional significance of a digital location professional agency in Chiang Mai, which encourages the building of social, legal and cultural bridges across a ‘digital expat’ and Thai workforce and local communities. Finally, and building on a concept of active participation in establishing new values in society, the lead researcher of this project has co-instigated the development of an entrepreneurial association in Chiang Mai. The association, built around the shared values of its Thai and foreign co-founders, aims to make Chiang Mai an inclusive space for entrepreneurs of all nationalities to learn, connect and grow.

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