On the edges of the digital world in India, there are millions of mobile phone users. To cater for these consumers, an economy of mobile phone care and repair has emerged in almost every town. Through the experiences of consumers and repairers, this article explores technology distribution, service practices and economic opportunity. How do they learn their trade? How do they make a living? And how do they position themselves in relation to the official branded manufacturers and licensed agents? Conceptually, the article is concerned with the nexus between consumer culture, the Indian middle class and the poor and how they engage global capitalism. It argues that middle-class ideologies and practices of consumption are both exclusive and expansive. At the same time, the poor seek to engage this economy by tapping into the unauthorized sector that responds to their demands for local participation in the global economy, while keeping them also at a certain distance from the forms and symbolic capital of the new economy.
|Publication status||Published - 2012|