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Side@Ways: Mobile Margins and the Dynamics of Communication in Africa

Mirjam de Bruijn, Francis Nyamnjoh

Publication Year: 2013

Marginality does not mean isolation. In Africa where people are permanently on the move in search, inter alia, of a ëbetter elsewhereí, marginality means disconnection to obvious possibilities and the invisibility of the myriad connections that make life possible for the ordinarily sidestepped. This book is about the workings of networks of the mobile in Africa, a continent usually associated with the ëglobal shadowsí of the world. How do changes in the possibilities for communication, with the recent hype of mobile technology, influence the social and economic dynamics in Africaís mobile margins? To what extent is the freedom associated with new Information and Communication Technologies reality or disillusion for people dwelling in the margins? Are ordinary Africans increasingly Side@Ways? How social are these emergent Side@Ways? Contributions to answering these and related questions are harvested from ethnographic insights by team members of the WOTRO funded ëMobile Africa revisitedí research programme hosted by the African Studies Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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p. v-v

List of maps, photos, and tables

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p. vi-vi

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Introduction: Mobile margins and the dynamics of communication

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pp. 1-16

The quote above reads like a riddle, an edict or a timely invitation for researchers to make intellectual capital from mobile technologies in an increasingly interconnected world of flexible mobilities. While there are indeed multiple technologies of mobility (mobile devices), Ling & Donner refer here specifically to the mobile phone or cell phone.1 Indeed the rapid increase in mobile-phone use over ...

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1. Mobilité et moyens de communication au Guéra

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pp. 17-35

Ces propos embarrassés ne sont pas ceux des pourfendeurs de la téléphonie mobile, mais plutôt des apologistes convaincus des premières ères de l’arrivée de la téléphonie mobile. Les auteurs de ces propos vivent dans une région enclavée du Tchad, dépourvue d’infrastructures de communication et sujette à l’insécurité politique consécutive à la violence et à la répression comme mode de ‘gouvernance’...

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2. La connexion des marges: Marginalité politique et technologie de désenclavement en Basse Casamance (Sud du Sénégal)

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pp. 36-60

On est au début du mois de février; la liste des visiteurs devant le bureau du gouverneur de la région de Ziguinchor est longue et compte, entre autres, un groupe de personnes du troisième âge venu demander une escorte pour sécuriser la réunion qu’il compte faire à la lisière de la ville en vue des fêtes traditionnelles, un...

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3. ‘Angola my country, Cape Town my home’. A young migrant’s journey of social becoming and belonging

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pp. 61-81

This chapter is inspired by the life story of Inoque, a young man who was born in Luanda, Angola and who is now living in three places in two countries at the same time. On his path to creating a better future for himself, he moves between these places and the meanings they have for him on a regular basis. Inoque is part of a group of young refugees living in Cape Town, South Africa who I have been...

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4. Transnational migration and marginality: Nigerian migrants in Anglophone Cameroon

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pp. 82-97

Human mobility is as old as history but with globalization it has acquired a new momentum. Facilitated by advances in new information and communication technologies (ICT), globalization has meant an unprecedented acceleration in the movement of people, goods and capital. Yet McLuhan’s prophesied global village is unlikely to emerge because while accelerating mobility, globalization has...

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5. Les femmes hadjaraye du Guéra à l’école d’alphabétisation

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pp. 98-112

Pendant les moments éprouvants causés par la guerre civile ou la famine, ce sont généralement les femmes et les enfants qui souffrent le plus. Même si elles sont physiquement épargnées, les femmes sont psychologiquement affectées, car à travers ces épreuves, il peut arriver qu’elles perdent leur mari, leurs enfants ou leurs biens. Cela a malheureusement bien souvent été le lot des femmes du Guéra, ...

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6. From foot messengers to cell phones: Communication in Kom, Cameroon, c. 1916-1998

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pp. 113-128

The state is always unstable. This is a feature best seen when one moves away from the centre. It is at the fringes of the state, in its margins, where law and order continually have to be re-established. Das & Poole (2004: 3-33) have shown three main ways in which the margins of the state can be imagined. Firstly, they are seen as areas that are yet to be penetrated by the state, and secondly they are...

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7. Grandeur ou misères des cabines téléphoniques privées et publiques au Mali

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pp. 129-158

Le présent article traite des contextes réels d’accès et d’utilisation des cabines téléphoniques privées et publiques dans le district de Bamako (Mali) et cela, avant et après l’avènement du portable: L’approche est donc historique. Ici, une large place est accordée aux extraits de récits de vie de personnes et de familles recourant aux cabines publiques et privées et les gérants....

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8. Information & communication technology and its impact on transnational migration: The case of Senegalese boat migrants

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pp. 159-177

Fatou has two migrant sons living in Spain and a brother there. All three successfully migrated by boat. She is also the aunt of my research guide in Dakar. Mohammed, an unsuccessful migrant, introduced me to some of his family who live in Yarakh on the outskirts of Dakar and during one of our regular visits to Fatou’s house in 2008, a letter and parcel arrived from her sons in Spain with some ...

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9. Identities of place: Mobile naming practices and social landscapes in Sudan

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pp. 178-198

Both of these text messages contain phrases1 that situate the sender in the spatial landscape of Sudan. These seemingly banal snippets of conversation are not unlike those heard on a street corner in Berlin. However, as Laurier (2001: 485) so nicely puts it: ‘It is precisely in such mundane and familiar geographic talk that we can find out how the world is socially and spatially organized’. Such labels...

List of authors

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pp. 199-204

Back cover

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p. BC-BC

E-ISBN-13: 9789956728435
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956728763

Page Count: 210
Publication Year: 2013