The Great Indian Phone Book (Paperback)

Robin Jeffrey

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The cheap mobile phone is arguably the most significant personal communications device in history. In India, where caste hierarchy has reinforced power for generations, the disruptive potential of the mobile phone is even more striking than elsewhere. In 2001, India had 35 million telephones, only four million of them mobiles. Ten years later, it had more than 800 million phone subscribers; more than 95 per cent were mobile phones. In a decade, communications in India have been transformed by a device that can be shared by fisherfolk in Kerala, boatmen in Banaras, great capitalists in Mumbai and power-wielding politicians and bureaucrats in New Delhi. Village councils banned unmarried girls from having mobile phones. Families debated whether new brides should surrender them. Cheap mobile phones became photo albums, music machines and radios. Religious images and uplifting messages flooded tens of millions of phones each day. Pornographers and criminals found a tantalising new tool. In politics, organisations with cadres of true believers exploited a resource infinitely more effective than telegrams, postcards and the printing press for carrying messages to workers, followers and voters. Jeffrey and Doron focus on three groups - controllers: the bureaucrats, politicians and capitalists who wrestle over control of radio frequency spectrum; servants: the marketers, agents, technicians, tower-builders, repairers and second-hand dealers who carry mobile phones to the masses; and users: the politicians, activists, businesses and households that adapt the mobile phone to their needs. The book probes the whole universe of the mobile phone - from the contests of great capitalists and governments to control radio frequency spectrum, to the ways ordinary people build the troublesome and addictive device into their daily lives.


Product Details

  • Product code: BCMQP
  • ISBN: 9781849043137
  • Publisher: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Dimensions: 21.2cm x 14.2cm
  • Pages: 256
  • Publish date: Sat Jun 15 00:00:00 BST 2013
  • Book points: 14

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