Evaluating Shared Access: Social Equality and the Circulation of the Mobile Phones in Rural Uganda
Burrell, J. (2010) "Evaluating Shared Access: Social Equality and the Circulation of the Mobile Phones in Rural Uganda". Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 15(2): 230-250
This article examines forms of shared access to technology where some privileges of ownership are retained. Sharing is defined as informal, non-remunerative resource distributing activities where multiple individuals have a relationship to a single device as purchaser, owner, possessor, operator and/or user. In the specific case of mobile phones in rural Uganda, dynamics of social policing and social obligation were mediated and concretized by these devices. Patterns of sharing mobile phones in rural Uganda led to preferential access for needy groups (such as those in ill health) while systematically and disproportionately excluding others (women in particular). The framework for sharing proposed in this article will be useful for structuring comparisons of technology adoption and access across cultural contexts.