This article scans the effects of mobile-phone communication, particularly in South Asia. It focuses on three important areas: political economy, politics and social practices. By 2012 India had more than 900 million telephone subscribers, 96 percent of them on cell phones, and the majority of users were the poor. At the other end of the social scale, the mobile phone provoked bitter struggles among some of India's biggest business houses and branches of government, and was responsible for criminal cases against politicians at the highest level. The essays in this volume are a reminder that technology is anything but neutral. The essays examine the many facets of mobile phone communication and the institutions, agents, mechanisms and networks such communication relies on. The essays contribute to efforts to interpret the effects of this technology and to gain insight into the most important aspect of the mobile phone: the sheer variety of activity (political, social and cultural) on which it impinges.
|Published - 2012