I’ve just posted a new working paper titled, “Evaluating Shared Access: social equality and the circulation of mobile phones in rural Uganda”
ABSTRACT: This article examines forms of shared access to technology where some privileges of ownership are retained. I propose a framework for evaluating the equality in access concerns that arise from a multitude of sharing configurations. This analytical lens employs a definition of sharing 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 phone gifting and sharing 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 yielded 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 revising survey design work on technology adoption and access as well as for structuring comparisons across cultural contexts.
Available in pdf format