We invite researchers working in the field of mobile communication and gender in the developing world to submit an abstract for consideration for a volume whose current working title is Intersections of gender, development and mobile technology : social context and relations of power planned for submission to the Routledge seriesAdvances in Feminist Studies and Intersectionality. The deadline for abstract submission is September 30th, 2014 (please see guidelines below). Once decisions have been made regarding abstract selection, those who submitted abstracts will be informed in a timely manner and the editors (Caroline Wamala, Laura Stark) will then write the book proposal to the publisher on the basis of the accepted abstracts.
If Routledge accepts our proposal, our target deadline for completion of full chapters is December 31st, 2015. However, this deadline will depend on the publisher’s timetable. A workshop may also be organized for authors to meet and discuss their research if funding becomes available.
Mobile technologies such as mobile phones, smart phones, tablets, and note books have revolutionized our way of life. How we communicate, relate and organize our way of living has been impacted and aided by the proliferation of these devices. In order to narrow the socioeconomic disparities between countries and regions, the use of information communication technologies (ICTs), mobile technologies included, continue to be championed by development efforts, and access to timely information enabled through ICTs is said to promote socio-economic well-being. Communication technologies that are mobile in character have enlarged development prospects due to their widespread adoption among even the poor in so-called developing countries. Mobile phones enable communication and information exchange in the remotest parts of the globe, and have consequently become synonymous with the discourse on poverty reduction and economic growth.
The proposed volume focuses on the changing intersections between technology, gender and other categories of social and cultural power difference (age, race, ethnicity, class, caste, religion, etc.), and asks how these intersections can inform development discourse, practice and research. The theoretical underpinnings of the volume engage with the intersectionality paradigm in teasing out the complexities involved in using mobile technologies for development purposes, and the concept of development is problematized through analysis of empirical materials.
The inspiration for this volume comes from new trends observed at the Mobile Communications for Development (M4D) conference held in Dakar, Senegal in April 2014. At the first M4D conference held in 2008, issues related to society and gender were barely on the agenda and only a few voices were raised in skepticism of the dominant climate of techno-optimism. Just six years later, the mobile-for-development field has come a long way. Both researchers and practitioners, often for different reasons, attend closely to the implications of gender and are taking a more critical view of the transformative capabilities of mobile telephony. They are also calling for more sensitivity to the socio-cultural and political contexts of behaviors linked to mobile use, as well as the social consequences of that use.
There is a growing sense that well-being and empowerment, two concepts central to current development discourses, need to be examined from more nuanced perspectives, with greater attention to their internal contradictions. For example, increased benefits through mobile health interventions measured in physical health may come at the cost of social or cultural disempowerment, when for instance HIV patients who come to prenatal clinics are treated badly by community healthcare workers, or when outreach efforts enhance the authority of the mother-in-law over the reproductive rights of her daughter-in-law within the home. While mobile phones are said to provide women with feelings of safety and security both at home and in public because they are tools for women and other vulnerable groups to alert others for help if needed, they have also been shown to lead to physical abuse of women when information in the hands of women can be perceived as a threat to men’s decision-making positions in the home. In addition, just as other technologies have contributed to the expression of hegemonic as well as subordinate masculinities, we hope to receive contributions that highlight how the engagement with mobile technologies in everyday communication practices reinforce, challenge or even subvert contextual expressions of masculinities. Development interventions may entail costs and risks for users other than those which are measurable by quantitative means. Questions need to be asked whether some targeted beneficiaries are empowered while others are disempowered, and we need to forge a more holistic view of well-being. This has led both researchers and practitioners in the field of mobiles-for-development to call for a more profound and rigorous examination of howdifferent dimensions of social life are intertwined, and how forms of differentiation create complex systems of oppression.
Publisher’s description of series :
Routledge Advances in Feminist Studies and Intersectionality is committed to the development of new feminist and profeminist perspectives on changing gender relations, with special attention to :
* Intersections between gender and power differentials, based on age, class, dis/abilities, ethnicity, nationality, racialisation, sexuality, violence, and other social divisions
* Intersections of societal dimensions and processes of continuity and change : culture, economy, generativity, polity, sexuality, science and technology
* Embodiment : Intersections of discourse and materiality, and of sex and gender
* Transdiscipilinity : intersections of humanities, social sciences, medical, technical and natural sciences
* Intersections of different branches of feminist theorizing, including : historical materialist feminisms, postcolonial and anti-racist feminisms, radical feminisms, sexual difference feminisms, queerfeminisms,cyberfeminisms, posthuman feminisms, critical studies on men and masculinities
* A critical analysis of the travelling of ideas, theories and concepts
* A politics of location, reflexivity and transnational contextualizing that reflects the basis of the series framed within European diversity and transnational power relations
Guidelines for submission of abstract :
Please send a 1-page abstract of your proposed chapter to both Caroline Wamala (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Laura Stark (email@example.com), in which the following information is clearly stated (this information will help us to make a more convincing case for the book’s merits to the publisher) :
the main research question(s) of your proposed chapter, please limit these to three questions, and state them in the form of concrete, specific question(s).
your source data and methods
the geographical scope of your data and analysis
to what current discussions do your research findings contribute, with what research literature does your chapter engage ?
in keeping with the themes of the Routledge series in which our volume will be published, how does your chapter topic/theme relate to Masculinity and feminist studies and intersectionality ? How will it advance our knowledge in these areas ?