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The Global Smartphone

Beyond a youth technology

Daniel Miller, Laila Abed Rabho, Patrick Awondo, Maya de Vries, Marília Duque, Pauline Garvey, Laura Haapio-Kirk, Charlotte Hawkins, Alfonso Otaegui, Shireen Walton, and Xinyuan Wang

ISBN: 9781787359611

Publication: May 06, 2021

Series: Ageing with Smartphones

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The smartphone is often literally right in front of our nose, so you would think we would know what it is. But do we? To find out, 11 anthropologists each spent 16 months living in communities in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America, focusing on the take up of smartphones by older people. Their research reveals that smartphones are technology for everyone, not just for the young.


The Global Smartphone presents a series of original perspectives deriving from this global and comparative research project. Smartphones have become as much a place within which we live as a device we use to provide ‘perpetual opportunism’, as they are always with us. The authors show how the smartphone is more than an ‘app device’ and explore differences between what people say about smartphones and how they use them.

The smartphone is unprecedented in the degree to which we can transform it. As a result, it quickly assimilates personal values. In order to comprehend it, we must take into consideration a range of national and cultural nuances, such as visual communication in China and Japan, mobile money in Cameroon and Uganda, and access to health information in Chile and Ireland – all alongside diverse trajectories of ageing in Al Quds, Brazil and Italy. Only then can we know what a smartphone is and understand its consequences for people’s lives around the world.

Daniel Miller is Professor of Anthropology at UCL. Laila Abed Rabho is a researcher at the Harry S. Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace. Patrick Awondo is Postdoctoral Researcher at UCL Anthropology and a lecturer at the University of Yaoundé 1. Maya de Vries is Postdoctoral Researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Marília Duque is a researcher at ESPM (Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing) São Paulo. Pauline Garvey is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, Maynooth University. Laura Haapio-Kirk is a PhD student at UCL Anthropology and RAI/Leach Fellow in Public Anthropology. Charlotte Hawkins is a PhD student at UCL Anthropology. Alfonso Otaegui is Postdoctoral Researcher at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. Shireen Walton is Lecturer in Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London. Xinyuan Wang is Postdoctoral Researcher at UCL.

Chapter summaries
List of figures
List of abbreviations
List of contributors
Series Foreword
Acknowledgements
1. Introduction
2. What people say about smartphones
3. The smartphone in context
4. From apps to everyday life
5. Perpetual opportunism
6. Crafting
7. Ageing and smartphones
8. The heart of the smartphone – LINE, WeChat and
9. General and theoretical reflections
Appendix
Bibliography
Index

Format: Open Access PDF

105 colour illustrations

Copyright: © 2021

ISBN: 9781787359611

Publication: May 06, 2021

Series: Ageing with Smartphones

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