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The Global Smartphone

Beyond a Youth Technology

A look at the adoption of smartphones by older people across the globe.

The smartphone is often literally right in front of our nose—but do we really know what it is, or what its consequences are for people’s lives around the world? This volume presents the findings of eleven anthropologists in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America on the adoption of smartphones by older people. Their research reveals that smartphones are a technology for everyone, not just for the young. The Global Smartphone presents a series of original perspectives deriving from a comparative research project on the ways that people use smartphones. The smartphone is unprecedented in the degree to which the user can transform it. It follows that in order to comprehend it, we must take into consideration a range of national and cultural nuances, such as visual communication in China and Japan, mobile money in Cameroon and Uganda, and access to health information in Chile and Ireland—all alongside diverse trajectories of aging in Al Quds, Brazil, and Italy.

320 pages | 105 color plates | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4

Ageing with Smartphones

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Culture Studies


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Reviews

"The most in depth study ever to look at how adults use smartphones reveals how we are ‘homeless’ when we lose them because they are where we increasingly express our personalities, interests and values. . . . A team of 11 anthropologists spent 16 months documenting smartphone use in nine countries across Africa, Asia, Europe and South America, with a particular focus on older adults. Their analysis is published in The Global Smartphone: Beyond a youth technology."

 

UCL News

"Smartphone users have become “human snails carrying our homes in our pockets”, with a tendency to ignore friends and family in favour of their device, according to a landmark study, The Global Smartphone."

MSN News

"The landmark study found that rather than being something to play with to pass the time, people treat their smartphones like their home, a place where they live."

Daily Mail

Table of Contents

Chapter summaries
List of figures List of abbreviations
List of contributors
Series Foreword
Acknowledgements
1. Introduction
2. What people say about smartphones
3. The smartphone in context
4. From apps to everyday life
5. Perpetual opportunism
6. Crafting
7. Ageing and smartphones
8. The heart of the smartphone – LINE, WeChat and WhatsApp
9. General and theoretical reflections Appendix
Bibliography
Index

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