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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
Issue number3
Early online date2 May 2018
Accepted/In press1 Jan 2018
E-pub ahead of print2 May 2018
Published1 Jun 2018


King's Authors


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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