is often literally right in front of our nose, so you would think we would know
what it is. But do we? To find out, 11 anthropologists each spent 16 months
living in communities in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America, focusing on the
take up of smartphones by older people. Their research reveals that smartphones
are technology for everyone, not just for the young.
The Global Smartphone presents a series of original perspectives deriving from this
global and comparative research project. Smartphones have become as much a
place within which we live as a device we use to provide ‘perpetual
opportunism’, as they are always with us. The authors show how the smartphone
is more than an ‘app device’ and explore differences between what people say
about smartphones and how they use them.
is unprecedented in the degree to which we can transform it. As a result, it
quickly assimilates personal values. 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 ageing in Al Quds, Brazil and Italy. Only then can we know what a smartphone
is and understand its consequences for people’s lives around the world.