Sep 23, 2011

Mobile Technology and Politics in Rural West Bengal, India

An interesting article from our project member, Professor Sirpa Tehnunen, has been published by ETHNOS, Journal of Anthropology, Volume 76, Issue 3. It is titled

Culture, Conflict, and Translocal Communication:

Mobile Technology and Politics in Rural West Bengal, India

Abstract [from Taylor & Francis online]

As media reports of political movements from various locations have shown, mobile technology can be a powerful political instrument. This paper examines how political activists in West Bengal, India use mobile phones for their daily political work. I seek ways to recognize the disruptive and political potential of mobile technology without ignoring its social and cultural rootedness. I illustrate how riots and protests relate to the increase in translocal communication enabled by phones. I also demonstrate how the political use of mobile technology for extra ordinary events is grounded in the social and political processes of ordinary everyday life and draws from the local understanding of politics by emphasizing certain aspects of it. My article confirms the cultural continuity amidst the increase in translocal relationships but it also pinpoints how cultures harbour conflicts and alternative discourses which translocal communication helps to amplify.

Click here for a preview of Sirpa's article.
Click here to download full text (free from most university networks).

Picture source: The Economist.

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