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Book chapter Book chapter Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Phoning anthropologists: the mobile phone's (re-)shaping of anthropological research
Author:Pelckmans, LotteISNI
Book title:Mobile phones: the new talking drums of everyday Africa
Year:2009
Pages:23-49
Language:English
Geographic term:Mali
Subjects:mobile telephone
anthropological research
Abstract:This chapter assesses the impact of the social appropriation of the mobile phone by researchers and informants on anthropological research in Africa. It is based on the author's experiences during research in Mali, between 2000 and 2007. The first section deals with relatedness through the use of mobile phones as a communication channel. Since the mobile phone shapes all social interaction, it necessarily also shapes that between researcher and informant. Ideologies of phone use are embedded in the prevailing social norms of the society under study, which is illustrated by 'flashing' practices (or 'biper' in French) in Mali, i.e. calling someone with the sole purpose of making the phone ring. The second section examines changes in anthropological practice (methods) through the use of the mobile phone as a multiple tool (visual, archiving, recording, broadcasting) and its potential as a research assistant. The third section analyses the implications of mobile phone use for the exchange of face-to-face versus phone-to-phone communication and questions what gives authority to information. Bibliogr., notes. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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