Digitalization of agriculture is often hailed as the next agricultural revolution. However, little is yet known about its social impacts and power effects. This review addresses this research gap by analyzing patterns of inequality linked to the development and adoption of digital technologies in agriculture and reviewing the strategies developed to reduce these inequalities and challenge the power relations in which they are embedded. Analysis of 84 publications found through a systematic literature review identified five patterns of inequality: (1) in digital technology development; (2) in the distribution of benefits from the use of digital technologies; (3) in sovereignty over data, hardware and digital infrastructure; (4) in skills and knowledge (‘digital literacy’); and (5) in problem definition and problem-solving capacities. This review also highlights the existence of emancipatory initiatives that are applying digital technologies to challenge existing inequalities and to advance alternative visions of agriculture. These initiatives underscore the political nature of digital agriculture; however, their reach is still quite limited. This is partly due to the fact that existing inequalities are structural and represent expressions of corporate power. From such a perspective, digitalization in agriculture is not a ‘revolution’ per se; rather, digital technologies mirror and reproduce existing power relations.
Keywords: digital agriculture; inequalities; power; data sovereignty; political economy; systematic literature review
Zitation: Hackfort, Sarah (2021): „Patterns of Inequalities in Digital Agriculture: A Systematic Literature Review“ Sustainability 13 (22). https://doi.org/10.3390/su132212345.