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The reality-producing dynamics of the mobile phone in Uganda
2015 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The expectations and visions of the mobile phone in a development context is vast. International development institutions such as the World Bank, World Summit of the Information Society and International Telecommunication Union together with business conglomerates Google and Facebook have all invested their perspectives and visions of how the information and technology community should unfold in Uganda. How do their perspectives merge, interfere and contrast with the perspectives and visions of actors in Uganda?


The research objective is to explore the feminist and postcolonial technoscientific practices of the mobile phone in a Ugandan context. In my exploration I use ethnographic, participatory and narrative methods to study the imaginations and real-time uses of the mobile phone among actors in the ICT community.


I ask how actors in technology hubs in a low-income country relate to local innovations and design processes. Using a diffractive method for analysis I discuss how stories of corruption and responsibility are entangled with the development of mobile applications for the local context and the relation of designers and users.


I ask how the mobile phone is changing the socio-technical relations of gender, technology and development. Using diffraction, intersectionality and figuration as cartographic nodes for discussion I examine how the initiatives Girl Geek Kampala and Women in Technology Uganda renegotiate and reconstitute the understandings of gender and technology.


I ask how the mobile phone is creating and changing the infrastructuring in Uganda. I address the situatedness of the mobile infrastructuring by departing in the generic properties of an infrastructure by Star and Ruhleder (1996). The mobile phone is being used for entertainment purposes, developmental goals and marketing strategies and cannot be singled out as a device that represents a uniform vision of the information society. The examination of situatedness suggests that the strength of understanding the mobile infrastructure lies in the ambiguity of sustaining and transforming relations simultaneously, or better yet, a posthumanist performativity where human and non-human forms of agency are taken into account. 


The entanglements of postcolonial information and communication technologies, feminist technoscience and design form the basis for a discussion on how we invite collaborations between policy makers, business entrepreneurs and civil society organizations that engage and shape the futures we are responsible for. My ambition is to develop ways of re-thinking social innovation and technology development, which interfere with linear economic development and raises the participatory paradigm in science and technology policy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlshamn: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, 2015.
Blekinge Institute of Technology Licentiate Dissertation Series, ISSN 1650-2140 ; 8
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-10913ISBN: 978-91-7295-317-8OAI: diva2:866987
2015-12-16, 00:00
Available from: 2015-11-04 Created: 2015-11-04 Last updated: 2015-12-22Bibliographically approved

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Engineering and Technology

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