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Book chapter Book chapter Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The mobile phone, 'modernity' and change in Khartoum, Sudan
Authors:Brinkman, IngeISNI
Bruijn, Mirjam deISNI
Bilal, HishamISNI
Book title:Mobile phones: the new talking drums of everyday Africa
Geographic term:Sudan
Subjects:mobile telephone
Abstract:This chapter considers the appropriation of the mobile phone in Khartoum, Sudan, and its sociocultural impact. The chapter is based on research carried out as a pilot study in the framework of collaboration between the telecom company Zain and the African Studies Centre Leiden, which started in July 2007. The study examined the interaction between new ICT and social relations, especially regarding mobility patterns, in Karima, a small town in the north of Sudan, Juba in southern Sudan, and Khartoum, the capital city. Central to the study are local interpretations and meanings attributed to the mobile phone. These new dynamics involve topics as diverse as morality, landscape, family ties, and linguistic puns. The authors show that over the ten years that the mobile phone has been around in Khartoum, there has been a shift from it being a status symbol for the well-to-do to it being used by the middle classes and even poorer people. Aspects of mobile phone culture show not only in new discourse on numbers, but also in the names given to mobile phones and the ways in which people discuss 'modernity' in relation to the mobile phone. The Khartoum case reveals that the mobile phone's presence has led to the development of a totally new economic sector. The chapter concludes with suggestions for future research. Bibliogr., notes. [ASC Leiden abstract]