Book: The Cell Phone – An Anthropology of Communication

The Cell Phone
“Mobile telecommunications have had a dramatic effect in many regions, but perhaps nowhere more than for low-income populations in countries such as Jamaica, where in the last few years many people have moved from no phone to cell phone. This book reveals the central role of communication in helping low-income households cope with poverty.”

“The book traces the impact of the cell phone from personal issues of loneliness and depression to the global concerns of the modern economy and the trans-national family. As the technology of social networking, the cell phone has become central to establishing and maintaining relationships in areas from religion to love. The Cell Phone presents the first detailed ethnography of the impact of this new technology through the exploration of the cell phone’s role in everyday lives.”

Authors are Heather A. Horst, a postdoctoral scholar at the Annenberg Center for Communication of University of California Berkeley, and Daniel Miller, who teaches at the Department of Anthropology of the University College London.

Publisher’s web page on this book
Amazon link


  1. I am always fascinated by anthropological studies of communication technologies.

    It’s amazing how technology can change the way we interact with others and the world around us.

    For instance, I recently subscribed for AskMeNow – a new mobile Q&A service currently available in the US – and ever since the way I use my cell phone has changed dramatically. Instead of calling friends to ask for advice on things like store hours, directions, the best wine to accompany fillet mignon dinner or Madonna’s birth name (etc) I now text my questions to the AskMeNow number (ASKME) and have the service do the work for me.

    To me, it’s amazing how this service has completely repurposed my cell phone. While it’s a small step it’s still evidence of evolution.

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