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The Cell Phone: An Anthropology of Communication

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1845204013
ISBN-10: 1845204018
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The authors achieve an impressive synthesis of diverse literatures that is remarkably readable. The book questions a number of widespread assumptions about the apocalyptic impact of mobile phones and ultimately represents a wider discussion on the experience of poverty, communication and the anthropology of communication.” ―Mirca Madianou, Cambridge University

“Horst and Miller give a dazzling display of new and innovative methods, combined with sophisticated use of anthropological theory. The writing is engaging and the descriptions of people and places are vivid, making this a wonderful resource for teaching. It will have a broad appeal in many disciplines, and any reader interested in new technologies will find surprises here.” ―Richard Wilk, Indiana University

The Cell Phone opens up a vital new space of inquiry for mobile society research, demanding that we attend to the diversity in uptake of a new communications technology. Through richly textured ethnographic detail, this book tells the story of how the cell phone has come to play a critical and transformative role in the lives of low income Jamaicans. In the process, the meaning of the technology and our understanding of it is also transformed.” ―Mimi Ito, Annenberg Center for Communication

“What kind of an object does the cell phone become in the hands of low income Jamaicans? In this insightful study, Horst and Miller explore what it means when the phone's leading attribute is less its mobility, or the mobility that it enables, than the possibility of intensifying connections already in play. Conjoining close place-based ethnography with broad historical, political and economic contextualizations, this book further challenges simple stories of a technology's 'global impacts.” ―Lucy Suchman, Lancaster University

“In this brilliant account of cell phone use among low-income people in Jamaica, anthropologists Horst and Miller demonstrate the critically important contributions that anthropology can make the communication studies…indispensable reading for the anthropology of communication and the anthropology of policy.” ―A. Arno, Choice

From the Back Cover

"The authors achieve an impressive synthesis of diverse literatures that is remarkably readable. The book questions a number of widespread assumptions about the apocalyptic impact of mobile phones and ultimately represents a wider discussion on the experience of poverty, communication and the anthropology of communication."--Mirca Madianou, Cambridge University

"Horst and Miller give a dazzling display of new and innovative methods, combined with sophisticated use of anthropological theory. The writing is engaging and the descriptions of people and places are vivid, making this a wonderful resource for teaching. It will have a broad appeal in many disciplines, and any reader interested in new technologies will find surprises here."--Richard Wilk, Indiana University

"The Cell Phone opens up a vital new space of inquiry for mobile society research, demanding that we attend to the diversity in uptake of a new communications technology. Through richly textured ethnographic detail, this book tells the story of how the cell phone has come to play a critical and transformative role in the lives of low income Jamaicans. In the process, the meaning of the technology and our understanding of it is also transformed."--Mimi Ito, Annenberg Center for Communication

"What kind of an object does the cell phone become in the hands of low income Jamaicans? In this insightful study, Horst and Miller explore what it means when the phone's leading attribute is less its mobility, or the mobility that it enables, than the possibility of intensifying connections already in play. Conjoining close place-based ethnography with broad historical, political and economic contextualizations, this book further challenges simple stories of a technology's 'global impacts."'--Lucy Suchman, Lancaster University --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (October 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845204018
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845204013
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #937,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By C. Taylor on April 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
In a global environment where mobile technologies are making impressive and influential in-roads into many societis and cultures, this ethnographically based study of the impact of cell phones on low-income populations in Jamaica is a valuable piece of scholarship. Based on two-years of ethnographic study in a rural and urban area of Jamaica, Horst and Miller's effort to construct an 'anthropology of communication' is accessible, yet strongly grounded in theory. Through avoiding technological and socially deterministic approaches and carefully examining the contradictions inherent in the deployment of cell phones throughout poorer sections of Jamaican society, the advantages and difficulties of this new technology are presented clearly, wreathed in the complications of everyday Jamaican life. The use of extensive ethnographic data (impressive in its scope) presented as short case studies, provide a clear sense of realism for the contextualisation of their examination of communication as an anthropological experience, with impacts for economics and policy. In examining the Jamaican experience specifically, this work may be limited in its use in other contexts, but still provides an important model for researchers in similar areas. Grounded in the reality of everyday Jamaican life, "The Cell Phone" succeeds as "...a study of the changes that document and demonstrate what a cell phone can turn into in the hands of a Jamaican, and what a Jamaican can become when they have their hands on a cell phone."(181)

An important piece of scholarship for anyone interested in the impact of technologies on people, cultures and societies.
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By Brian on August 17, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great Product will buy again.
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