Cell Phones and poverty reduction and empowerment…oh my!

June 14, 2010 at 3:01 am (Uncategorized)

         In addition to looking at video, I will draw resources from scholarly materials like books and peer reviewed journal articles, and of course POP CULTURE!               
          As more countries are caught up in the globalization wave, the cell phone has emerged as a powerful tool in closing the information gap and as a source of poverty reduction in developing nations.  In this blog I would like to look at how mobile technologies are also being used in developing Asia to help alleviate poverty and pushing or forcing traditional societies into modernity. In addition, I would like to look at how the introduction of these new technologies is making changes in the Asian family, especially looking at the role of gender. 
                   In the book Factory Girls, young Chinese girls and women are using the cell phone to start and end relationships, as well as, show their upgraded status as main sources of family income.  I would like to explore how this is making “waves” in the structures of these families.
            The West has always been defined by the East (Edward Said) and from this we can see that the West continues to have a very large stake in Asia, politically and economically.  Thus I would like to further explore this relationship and examine how technologies from the West are making an impact on the East, in both positive and negative ways.    The main issue I would like to examine is how mobile technologies (cell phones) are impacting the developing Asian world in terms of economy, government policies, and at the level of families (changing structure within the family as we will see in Factory Girls).
         As promised, here is part 2 of the Teleuse at the Bottom of the Pyramid (Part 2 of 2).

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2 Comments

  1. Saira said,

    Sadaf,
    I thought this was a very interesting topic. These days everyone has a cellphone even people on welfare are alllowed to have one. This helps them for emergencies, employment, and as well as keeping in touch. Cell phones are helping cut down poverty. When I was in India in 2000, our house maids had cell phones. They also got some time on the family pc to check email. New technologies are changing the world, but I don’t think its all cell phone.

    • sadafali10 said,

      Hi Saira! Thanks for the comment. You’re right it’s not all the phone, it’s also the Internet, television, and other technologies. However, arguably the cell phone, being the most mobile and cheapest, is helping to close that information gap between the developed and developing world. A rural woman can use the phone to start a small business and sell her goods in urban areas. The cell phone in the book helped these women maintain relationships, romantic and business. They were able to get better jobs based on contacts they were able to accumulate in their phone’s address book.

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