1 May 2006

Why do anthropologists & sociologists study mobile phones?

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putting people first
by experientia

India mobile phone resale
Anthropologist Ann Galloway is teaching a class this week at Carleton University in Ottawa on mobile phones and everyday life, writes Emily Turrettini in textually.org.

Her course introduction makes a case for qualitative research on mobile phone use:

“It’s estimated that there are 1.35 billion cell phones in use in the world today and almost 500 billion text messages were sent last year alone. These kinds of numbers tell us that mobile technologies will probably take on more and more important roles in how people live, work and play everyday – all around the world. And as we know, that’s exactly what anthropologists and sociologists try to understand!”

“When it comes to cell phones, we try to get to know the life story of the device and all the people it comes into contact with. Sociologists and anthropologists are interested in everything from who extracts the raw materials from the earth, and how the parts are engineered, to who designs the look, feel and functionality of the phone and how it is manufactured. We’re interested in who markets and sells mobile phones, who buys them, how they use them, how they dispose of them and even where they go from there.”

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