Enrolling Mobiles at Kowanyama: Upping the Ant in a Remote Aboriginal Community

University of Oslo
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
The 9th International Conference on Culture, Technology, Communication, 2014, pp. 179 - 194
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Actor Network Theory is used in this paper as an approach to analyzing and interpreting mobile technology adoption in a very remote Aboriginal community in Cape York, Australia. Following the actors and insisting on the principles of generalized symmetry and impartiality towards all actors, the narrative centres on an event in the Wet season when the mobile network ‘fell over’ and all communication by mobile phone and mobile broadband ceased for a time. This extreme weather event acted as a catalyst for residents, business people and service providers to talk about mobile technology in their community and how it impacts on their lives. By setting aside arbitrary distinctions between groups of people in this community, the researchers rejected simplistic notions of cultural difference, and, instead, recognized place and cultural pratices associated with place as determinants of mobile phone behaviour.
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