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Where are you Africa?

Church and Society in the Mobile Phone Age

Castor M. Goliama

Publication Year: 2010

This is an original and innovative study of mobile phones in Africa from a theological perspective. The First and the Second Special Assemblies for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, held in Rome in 1994 and 2009 respectively, made an urgent appeal to the Church in Africa to employ various media forms of social communications for evangelization and the promotion of justice and peace. Evidently, electronic media are now increasingly used for evangelization across Africa. The proliferation of the mobile phone in Africa is a most welcome development to this end. On the basis of a thorough review of the growing literature on the mobile phone and the cultures it inspires, Goliama highlights the ambivalent nature of mobile cultures for the Roman Catholic Churchís evangelization mission in Africa. He argues not only for the continued merits of face-to-face communication for the Churchís pastoral approach in the African context. He points to how this could be enriched by a creative appropriation of the mobile phone as a tool for theological engagement, in its capacity to shape cultures in ways amenable to the construction of a Cell phone Ecclesiology. Such emergent mobile cultural values include the tendency of mobile users to transcend social divides, to promote social interconnectedness, and to privilege the question ìwhere are you?î. This informed and well articulated exploration of Cell phone Ecclesiology is thus envisaged to aid the Church in Africa to wrestle more effectively with challenges that diminish human life and promote instead qualities that are life-affirming to all categories of people in the Church and society.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. iii-xviii

List of Abbreviations

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xxii

The obtrusive spread of mobile technologies in contemporary Africa impacts lives and relationships. African citizens and foreigners coming to Africa testify that they enjoy a sense of social interconnectedness, accessibility and security of perpetual contact with their loved ones, co-workers, and others. ...

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Chapter 1. Media of Social Communications in Pre-Mobile phone Africa

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pp. 1-22

In view of the current situation in which the mobile phone coordinates work, business enterprises, and life in general, it becomes puzzling to many in Africa how such activities could be managed in the past without the mobile phone. This chapter attempts to present an overview of the old and new means of social communications ...

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Chapter 2. Is the Mobile Phone Liberating Africa?

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pp. 23-70

The telephone as a medium of social communication is perceived to be both modern and old. Its modernity is seen in its being a medium of organisation that ‘enables the real-time integration of highly complex organisations as well as a myriad coordination processes within cities that could not be realized on the basis of face-to-face interaction’ ...

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Chapter 3. Mobile Cultures and Ubuntu Paradigm of Solidarity

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pp. 71-110

This chapter explores human cultures that emerge as a result of social appropriation of the mobile phone in Africa and how these cultures impact the African philosophy of life known as Ubuntu. The chapter reveals that there are mobile cultures that enhance Ubuntu solidarity and those that diminish it. ...

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Chapter 4. Mobile Cultures and Social Justice

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pp. 111-130

This chapter aims to address the consequences of the social appropriation of the mobile phone from the perspective of the Christian concept of social justice. Trying to grapple with the impact of the mobile phone on this respect, it would seem important to give a few preliminary remarks. ...

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Chapter 5. Reimagining Church Community in the Mobile Age

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pp. 131-154

The current religious landscape in Africa is a multi-religious context characterised by the booming of churches and mosques as well as religious revivalism. It is an atmosphere marked by an unprecedented scramble for spiritual market in which the major monotheistic and missionary belief systems of the continent, ...

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Chapter 6. Mobile Cultures and Pilgrim Status of the Church

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pp. 155-166

What I have discussed in Chapter Three with regard to the relationships between mobile phone use and migrants can be brought to bear in theological analysis of the phenomenon of migration. It is important to add here that the current intensification of human migrations in the world is concurrent with a pervasive advancement in mobile technology. ...

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Chapter 7. Biblical and Theological Insights into Mobile Cultures

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pp. 167-194

This chapter attempts to approach mobile cultures from biblical and theological perspectives in order to navigate an appropriate path for the Church and society in mobile Africa. The chapter suggests that the mobile age challenges the Church in Africa to adopt an inner life and praxis that incorporates some positive elements portrayed in mobile cultures. ...

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Chapter 8. "Where are you?" The Mobile Question and Its Implications in Africa

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pp. 195-206

Chapter Three has noted that the question “Where are you?” is one of the most frequently asked questions in mobile communications. It has been pointed out that when persons in a relationship keep asking one another “Where are you?” with the good intention of safeguarding mutual care and security, then this serves to affirm Ubuntu solidarity. ...

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Chapter 9. Looking Towards the Future

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pp. 207-220

This study has attempted to explore the impact of the mobile phone on the Church and society in Africa. But before locating the niche of the mobile phone in contemporary Africa, it has made a cursory survey on the various media of social communications that have been employed in the continent before the current pervasive spread of the mobile phone. ...

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 221-240

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789956579037
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956578450

Page Count: 268
Publication Year: 2010