Paper – Connecting in Mobile Communities: an African Case Study
Mirjam de Bruijn’s paper ‘Connecting in Mobile Communities: an African Case Study’ was published in Media Culture Society, vol. 36 no. 3, (2014) pp. 319-335.
African geographical mobilities should be understood in terms of their increasingly global development over the last two decades, and as an interplay of scales of mobility between continents and between African regions or nations. The relationship between these various times and scales of mobility shape mobile communities as a daily reality for many Africans. African family histories and personal lives are full of connecting with those who have left. In recent years, these daily practices have been radically altered by improvements in communication technology – with travel, radio messages and letter writing being replaced by mobile telephony as the main connecting technology. This article explores how the development of connecting technology has changed the social dynamics of African mobile communities and focuses on the changes in (old and new) social hierarchies that are related to possibilities of accessing mobility and connecting technologies. It is based on a qualitative case study of a mobile community in Africa, which is part of the Mobile Africa Revisited programme that is investigating the relationship between new ICTs, mobility, marginality and social hierarchies.
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