Few modern innovations have spread quite so quickly as the cell phone. This technology has transformed communication throughout the world. Mobile telecommunications have had a dramatic effect in many regions, but perhaps nowhere more than for low-income populations in countries such as Jamaica, where in the last few years many people have moved from no phone to cell phone. This book reveals the central role of communication in helping low-income households cope with poverty. The book traces the impact of the cell phone from personal issues of loneliness and depression to the global concerns of the modern economy and the transnational family. As the technology of social networking, the cell phone has become central to establishing and maintaining relationships in areas from religion to love. The Cell Phone presents the first detailed ethnography of the impact of this new technology through the exploration of the cell phone's role in everyday lives.
Heather A. Horst is a Vice Chancellor's Senior Research Fellow in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, Co-Director of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre and a Research Fellow in the MA Program in Digital Anthropology at University College London. She is currently involved in three collaborative research projects: a study of mobiles, money and mobility in Haiti and the Dominican Republic (with Erin B. Taylor and Espelencia Baptiste, funded by the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion); the PACMAS Baseline Study that is exploring the media and communication landscape across 14 countries in the Pacific (with Jo Tacchi, Evangelia Papoutsaki, Verena Thomas and Joys Eggins, funded by ABC International Development) and an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant, "Mobilising Media for Sustainable Outcomes in the Pacific", Jo Tacchi and Domenic Friguglietti.
A sociocultural anthropologist by training, Heather's research focuses upon new media, material culture, and transnational migration. She is the co-author of The Cell Phone: An Anthropology of Communication (Horst and Miller, Berg, 2006), Living and Learning with Digital Media: Findings from the Digital Youth Project (Ito, Horst, et al., 2009, MIT Press), and Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with Digital Media (Ito, et al. 2010, MIT Press). Her most recent book, to be released in October 2012, is an edited volume with Daniel Miller entitled Digital Anthropology. Heather's research has been published in a range of journals, including Social Anthropology, Current Anthropology, Journal of Material Culture, Global Networks, Identities, International Journal of Communication and the Caribbean Review of Gender Studies. She has been a guest editor for special issues of the International Journal of Communication, Journal of Material Culture, International Journal of Cultural Studies, New Media and Society and Home Cultures.
Prior to joining RMIT, Heather held research positions at the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub based at the UC Humanities Research Institute at the University of California, Irvine, the Institute for the Study of Social Change at the University of California, Berkeley, the Annenberg Center for Communication at the University of Southern California, the School of Social Sciences at University of the West Indies, Mona and the Department of Anthropology at University College London. She obtained her PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of London, an MA in Anthropology from University of California, Santa Barbara and a BA in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Heather A. Horst
Vice Chancellor's Senior Research Fellow
School of Media and Communication
Design Research Institute
RMIT University, Building 9.4.39
Melbourne, VIC 3001
Phone: +(61) (3) 9925 3988