Africa connects: mobile margins on the move

TitleAfrica connects: mobile margins on the move
Publication TypeAudiovisual
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsM.E. de Bruijn
Pagination - Online resource (21:58 min.)
Date Published2009///
PublisherUniversitat Oberta de Catalunya; YouTube
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsAfrica, mobile telephone, telecommunications

The past decade mobile phone technology has spread rapidly into remote areas of Africa. These areas are often depicted as being marginal, marginality related to geography, economy and politics. The people inhabiting these areas also define themselves as marginal vis-à-vis the state, the dominant others. Although the label marginal suggest disconnection, the people inhabiting these areas have on the contrary always been part and parcel of patterns of mobility. Relatives and family of the people from these areas migrated to other marginal areas like the urban slums, or as labourers to petrol rich areas, plantations etc., and after independence increasingly to the other side of the ocean, Europe and the States, in search for a better livelihood for themselves and their relatives. Communication within these mobile margins has become easier with the advent of communication technology, like the mobile phone. The question in this presentation is how the connections through mobile technology, i.e. mobile communication will (re)shape the mobile margins (and vice versa). Discussed are the first results of a research programme that started in 2008, and includes case studies in Mali, Chad, Cameroon, Angola and Sudan. Examples from these case study areas highlight the question if and how the mobile margins are shaped around mobile communication and how ideas and perceptions about marginality are transformed.


Filmed conference lecture held at the "Conference on development and information technologies: mobile phones and internet in Latin America and Africa: what benefits for the most disadvantaged?", organized by the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) of the Open University of Catalonia on the 23rd and 24th of October, 2009.

Citation Key3069