Mobile phones are tools for activism and civic participation, surveillance and repression, market making, and market disruption. In Ithiel de Sola Pool's memorable phrase, there have been few “technologies of freedom” that match the consequences of these new instruments and the infrastructure that supports them. This conference examines dimensions of the social, political, and economic effects of the global ubiquity of mobile phones:
- What are the affordances and limitations of mobile phones in development?
- What is the impact of mobile phones on socio-political change?
- How do mobile phones continue to shape our civil liberties?
- What are the geo-political consequences of these mobilities?
- How does mobile phone adoption challenge and support market innovation?
To tackle these questions, this conference brings together voices from the academy, civil society, and industry—all to examine the heterogeneous sources and consequences of mobility's diffusion. The goal of this conference is to further interdisciplinary and comparative approaches to the understanding of the mobile phenomenon and to chart directions in mobile phone studies.
The conference is funded by the Provost’s Global Engagement Fund, the Center for Global Communication Studies, and the Project for Advanced Research in Global Communication and the program reflects the input of several Schools at Penn, including the Annenberg School for Communication, Wharton, Law, and the School of Arts and Sciences.