Intersecting Geographies? ICTs and other virtualities in urban Africa

Simone, AbdouMaliq. 2006. Intersecting Geographies? ICTs and other virtualities in urban Africa. In: Greg Downey and Melissa Fisher, eds. Frontiers of Capital: Ethnographic Reflections on the New Economy. London: Duke University Press, pp. 133-161. ISBN 978-0822337270 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

With the NASDAQ having lost 70% of its value, the giddy, optimistic belief in perpetual growth that had accompanied the economic boom of the 1990s had fizzled by 2002. Yet the advances in information and communication technology, management and production techniques, and global integration that spurred the "New Economy" of the 1990s had triggered profound and lasting changes. Frontiers of Capital brings together ethnographies exploring how cultural practices and social relations were altered by the radical economic and technological innovations of the New Economy. The contributors, most of whom are anthropologists, explore changes in the practices and interactions of futures traders, Chinese entrepreneurs, residents of Parisian slums, women working on Wall Street, cable television programmers, and others. Some contributors highlight how expedited flows of information allowed business professionals to develop new knowledge practices. They analyze dynamics ranging from the decision-making processes of the Federal Reserve Board to the legal manoeuvring necessary to buttress a nascent Japanese market in over-the-counter derivatives. Others focus on the social consequences of globalization and new modes of communication, whether to evaluate the introduction of new information technologies into African communities or the collaborative practices of open-source computer programmers. Together the essays suggest that social relations, rather than becoming less important in the high-tech age, have become ever more important. This finding dovetails with the thinking of many corporations, which increasingly employ anthropologists to study and explain the "local" cultural practices of their own workers and consumers. Frontiers of Capital signals the wide-ranging role of anthropology in explaining the social and cultural contours of the New Economy.

Item Type:

Book Section

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP) [2003-2015]



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Date Deposited:

05 Oct 2015 11:46

Last Modified:

16 Dec 2016 17:18


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