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Popular Digital Imagination: Grass-root conceptualization of the mobile phone in the Global South

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Elisa Oreglia, Rich Ling

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)570–589
JournalJOURNAL OF COMMUNICATION
Volume68
Issue number3
Early online date2 May 2018
DOIs
Accepted/In press1 Jan 2018
E-pub ahead of print2 May 2018
Published1 Jun 2018

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Abstract

In the realm of digital technologies, imagination is often evoked to describe the creative quality possessed by visionary technology developers. In contrast, we describe the idea of gaining a “digital imagination” as a process through which the non-elite—here, potential and new users of digital technologies in Myanmar and rural China—envision something that is not yet part of their lives and thus begin appropriating it. The digital imagination is a framing that prefigures everyday uses of technology and is shaped by individual aspirations, the organization of society, and images of digital media that exist in the surrounding environment. A locally grounded imagination can provide locally appropriated innovation that is often lacking in digital technologies developed in urban areas.

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