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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Mobile interconnections: reinterpreting distance, relating and difference in the Cameroonian Grassfields
Authors:Bruijn, Mirjam deISNI
Nyamnjoh, FrancisISNI
Angwafo, TseghamaISNI
Periodical:Journal of African Media Studies (ISSN 1751-7974)
Geographic term:Cameroon
Subjects:mobile telephone
social relations
Abstract:Communities in the western Cameroonian Grassfields have always been mobile and migratory and this has been facilitated over the years by innovations in information and communication technologies (ICT). Since 2003, rural areas have become gradually more linked to mobile phone networks and the costs of telephony have decreased. The phone is increasingly accessible, but what does this new accessibility to information and communication technology mean for the mobile communities of this region? Who has access to mobile communication and who does not? What are the changes people refer to when they reflect on their phone use? Are substantial changes taking place in social relating and local notions of time and space? This article explores the appropriation of the phone by different social groups related to age and status in rural and urban settings. It draws on interviews and qualitative observations gathered during fieldwork conducted between 2006 and 2009. The directions of social change linked to the mobile phone show a wide variety of forms of social relating. Of particular significance is the creativity brought to bear in social relations by those with and without mobile phones, which is making power relations simultaneously hierarchical and horizontal, concentrated and diffused, in ways that challenge conventional theories of social sciences and differentiation in structural terms. Similarly, the populations of the Grassfields can simultaneously shape as well as be shaped by the mobile phone, and can recognize and capitalize on its possibilities while being critical of its inconveniences. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]