Broken Mobile Phones: Urban Indigenous Territorialities and Communication Technologies (SWP 65)

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Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Faculty/Staff
Final version published as: 

Ana Vivaldi, Broken Mobile Phones: Urban Indigenous Territorialities and Communication TechnologiesSimons Papers in Security and Development, No. 65/2018, School for International Studies, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, October 2018.

Date created: 
2018
Identifier: 
ISSN 1922-5725
Keywords: 
new technologies
mobile phones
urban indigenous people
territoriality
indigeneity
Argentina
ethnography
Abstract: 

In this paper I explore ethnographically the tension between urban Toba indigenous people living in Buenos Aires, ubiquitous incorporation of mobile phones and the deep disconnecting effects mobile phones have when they break down. While mobile phones enable the intensification of informal economic activities and are used to mediate with state institutions, broken phones isolate, if only temporarily, urban Toba family members from each other and from their hard-built relations with people in the city. From a spatial perspective, broken mobile phones not only disrupt the flow of communication between people but also permanently restrain access to institutions and places in the city center. I argue that the current and limited forms of access to mobile phone communication and the managing of information both produce and dismantle the territorialities of urban indigenous networks. Mobile phones for the urban Toba, in short, both enable the fluidity of connections and re-create separation and segregation from the city.

Description: 

Ana Vivaldi email: a.vivaldi@ubc.ca

Homepage:

http://soci.ubc.ca/persons/ana-vivaldi/

Language: 
English
Document type: 
Other
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Rights for the working paper remain with the authors.
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