Country Workshop – Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday, June 16 2013
Theme: Mobile communities and mobilities: Connections and disconnections in transnational social spaces
Mobility is as old as the history of every society, but has evolved from its rudimentary form thanks to phenomenal strides in air and road transport facilities. Today people can travel while sitting on the same spot, all of which is fanned by the revolution in mobile communications. ICTs, it is highly acclaimed, has had a ripple effect on a number of operations of public services – how this communication facilitates coordination, reorganizes our daily lives in a myriad of ways and makes transport systems more effective. But by far, it has compressed space and made it possible for families to stay in touch with loved ones far and near; it has aided the formation of free floating networks. Furthermore, it has facilitated remittances to families and has kept the home community knit together with those abroad echoing the ‘bush falling phenomenon.’ How have migrants and families in a home country appropriated the new mobile communication technologies to stay in touch with this home country and other migrant communities? Equally important are the mobile culture dynamics such as the emergence of relationships on the move, and the changing meanings of places, and times. The spread of wireless mobility and the diffusion of the internet worldwide, has made it easier to see how new relations, new technologies and new ways of interacting are rapidly providing populations with new challenges and new opportunities. The introduction of the new communication technologies has, therefore, in a way reformulated society in its image and by the same token, society has also reshaped these technologies by domesticating them to fit within their repertoires. Underlying these interlacing effects of ICTs that emphasizes the importance of flows, networks, connections and movements are the emergent mobile communities.
The above issues help to highlight key concerns and demonstrate why there is a growing interest in ICTs. The workshop as such, provides a platform for the researcher, researched and other stakeholders to assess how the findings of the study reflects the community, and also give an opportunity for the researcher to come under the spotlight.