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Miller, D. (2019). Anthropological Studies of Mobile Phones. Technology and Culture, 60(4), 1093-1097. http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/tech.2019.0103
This article is a review of the mobile phone from an anthropological viewpoint. Several books from the anthropologist are mentioned in the article which discusses the effects of the mobile phone when introduce in different cultures. It describes the changes the mobile phones invoked on the people and the wide range of uses for the mobile phone. In addition, the article discusses the supplier of the mobile phones to small cities, towns, or villages. The article details the friendly approaches of the mobile supplier in order to gain the trust of the population of this new product while soley there to generate revenue.
This article takes the approach of technological determinism and social constructivism. Small islands like Mozambique, Samoa, and Papua New Guinea, just to name a few, were introduced to the mobile phone by the corporate company Digicel. The introduction of the mobile phone to these densely populated areas had a wide range of effects. The mobile phone began to reshape their culture. “One result of this was that we emphasized the way people expanded their social connections. In order just to get by, many Jamaicans without any income tried to find ways to “link-up” with Jamaicans who had some kind of income (Miller, 2019)”, the use of the mobile phone help them make these connections. Social constructivism come into to play with the mentioning that certain cultures viewed the phone as form of concealment and making things apparent. An example of this is the use of the phone to “arrange meetings with a lover, the phone seems to make it much easier to make all the requisite arrangements in secret (Miller, 2019). Another example of social constructivism, this new technology allowed people who were ostracized for health-related illness to feel some type of connection without having to provide anything in return. “They may find themselves shunned by their kin, but through using random calling, they can find supportive strangers who give them emotional and practical care and don’t ask for money, sex, or pigs in return, unlike family and boyfriends (Miller, 2019).”When Digicel introduced the phone to these areas the used the approach of technological determinism, because they want the phone to reshape the culture. They wanted to replace the use of traveling miles to deliver news or information with the use of a cell phone. Their goal was to help a culture stay more connected to family and friends and reduce the use of long-distance travel.
In conclusion, this artifact -the mobile phone shaped cultures and allow cultures to shape it.
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