Mobile technology in the village: ICTs, culture, and social logistics in India

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Abstract

Mobile technology is currently emerging as the first extensive form of electronic communication system in many regions of Africa and Asia. This article analyses the appropriation of mobile phones in rural India by exploring what new social alternatives mobile phones enable and how these new social constellations relate to culture and cultural change. The ethnographic description relates phone usage to other communication patterns and ongoing processes of transformation. The article shows how the appropriation of phones draws from the local cultural and social context, but also that phones facilitate new patterns that show great similarity with social processes in other places where phones have been introduced as the first form of communication technology, such as the increased multiplicity of social contacts and the greater efficiency of market relationships. I argue that mobile technology amplifies ongoing processes of cultural change but does so selectively, so that it brings about the homogenization of 'social logistics'.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
Volume14
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)515-534
Number of pages20
ISSN1359-0987
Publication statusPublished - 2008
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 514 Sociology
  • matkapuhelimet
  • vaikutukset
  • kulttuuri
  • logistiikka
  • yhteiskunta
  • tieto- ja viestintätekniikka

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