Great Indian Mobile Phone Book

Great Indian Mobile Phone Book Cover - image for review by Matt Birkinshaw

Great dual author study combining history and ethnography to take a broad view of the influence of mobile phones across areas of life in India…

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. 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, addictive device into their daily lives. Matt Birkinshaw hopes the broad scope and rich empirical detail found in this book will prompt a range of further, narrower, investigations in its wake. 

The Great Indian Phone Book: How The Cheap Cell Phone Changes Business, Politics, and Daily Life. Robin Jeffrey and Assa Doron. Hurst & Company, London. February 2013.

India had 4 million mobile phone connections in 2001; by 2013 there were said to be 990 million. In a country of 1.2 billion people this would make access to cell-phones far higher than access to sanitation. So how is the growth of this vast market transforming the world’s tenth-largest economy?

You can read the rest of the review here…