Mobile communication has become a common phenomenon in most parts of the world. There are indeed more mobile subscriptions than there are people who use the internet. For many people outside of the metropolitan areas of Europe and North America, this is literally their first use of electronically mediated interaction. This preface to the special issue of New Media & Society examines mobile communication in a global context. Through an overview of eight articles situated in the global south, we describe how mobile communication sheds light upon notions of information, appropriation and development and how it is challenging, and in many cases changing, notions of gender. While the mobile phone reshapes development and micro dynamics of gendered interactions, it is not necessarily a revolutionary tool. Existing power structures may be rearranged, but they are nonetheless quite stable. The analysis of mobile communication in the global south helps us to understand the rise of innovative practices around information and communication technologies and, in turn, enables us to develop theory to understand these emergent empirical realities.
New Media and Society, 2011, Vol 13, Issue 3, p. 1-9
development; gender; Global South; mobile communication