Sherry Hamby: Resisting technology, Appalachian style

Vox Populi

When people hear “Appalachia,” stereotypes and even slurs often immediately jump to mind, words like “backwards,” “ignorant,” “hillbilly” or “yokel.” But Appalachian attitudes about technology’s role in daily life are extremely sophisticated – and turn out to be both insightful and useful in a technology-centric society.

Many Americans tend to view Appalachian life as involving deprivation and deficit. This can be particularly pointed regarding technology: Rural residents are frequently neglected in research on technology use, and where they are included, the data usually focus on the lower rates of ownership and use of smartphones and laptop computers in rural areas. Articles can come across as scholars and reporters saying something like, “Poor rural Appalachians – they don’t even own the newest iPhone!”

It’s true that many rural areas aren’t served with the fastest broadband and the most robust cellular coverage in the U.S. But in the wake of the

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