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Ageing with Smartphones in Uganda: Togetherness in the Dotcom Age

Hawkins, Charlotte; (2021) Ageing with Smartphones in Uganda: Togetherness in the Dotcom Age. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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In taking the lens of the smartphone to understand experiences of ageing in a diverse neighbourhood in central Kampala, Uganda, this ethnography presents the articulation and practice of ‘togetherness in the dotcom age’. Taking a situated and ‘convivial’ approach, which celebrates multiple and partial ways of knowing about sociality, the thesis draws from these vernacular concepts of cooperative morality and modernity to consider the everyday mitigation of wide-reaching social processes. Dotcom is understood to encompass everything from the influence of ICTs to urban migration and lifestyles in the city, to profound shifts in ways of knowing and relating. At the same time, dotcom tools such as mobile phones and smartphones facilitate elder care obligations despite distances, for example through regular mobile money remittances. Whilst phones are a global phenomenon, both the concept of dotcom and the way people creatively adapt and adopt their phones has to be understood in relation to specific contextual conditions. This thesis is concerned with how dotcom manifests in relation to older people’s health, their care norms, their social standing, their values of respect and relatedness, and their intergenerational relationships - both political and personal. It thus re-frames the youth-centricity of research on the city and work, new media and technology, politics and service provision in Uganda. Through ethnographic consideration of everyday life and self-formation in this context, the thesis seeks to contribute to an ever-incomplete understanding of ‘intersubjectivity’, how we relate to each other and to the world around us.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Ageing with Smartphones in Uganda: Togetherness in the Dotcom Age
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10136424
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