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Title: The Capability of Mobility in Kibera 'Slum', Kenya: An Ethnographic Study of How Young People Use and Appropriate New Media and ICTs
Authors: Kibere, Faith Njeri
Supervisors: Lunt, Peter
Reilly, Paul
Award date: 6-Jun-2016
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: This multidisciplinary thesis explores the relationship between new media and young people in Kibera using ethnographic research methods. The research aim is to interrogate the optimism about the use of new media and ICTs for development by amplifying the rare voices of technology users in a marginalised context. The focus on young Kiberans is significant for emergent Global South media audience literature and the ICT4D (Information and Communication Technologies for Development) field. The communicative ecologies framework and the domestication of technologies approach facilitate the identification of dominant forms of local information and communication flows in the communicative environments of the young Kiberans. In light of the analysis of the empirical findings derived from 22 semi-structured interviews, participant observation, go-alongs and documentary evidence, the thesis argues that the mobile phone and the mobile Internet emerge as the most significant forms of new media and ICTs. Additionally, the local information flows of youth groups, youth forums, community radio ( Pamoja FM), Church and school emerge as complementary to the use and appropriation of new media and ICT artefacts. Grounded in the philosophical paradigm of critical realism and drawing upon Amartya Sen’s Capabilities Approach, the social conversion factor of educational attainment is identified as a dominant factor in enabling the Kiberans to appropriate the mobile phone and the mobile Internet into the capability of mobility, a form of development. The mobile phone emerges as a socio-cultural artefact that facilitates the maintenance and extension of social ties. However, the environmental conversion factor of Kibera as the young people’s place of residence and their perceived lower class restricts their creation and extension of social ties in higher class Kenyan networks. Therefore, “the digital spaces created by new media and ICT use and appropriation are simply continuities of the offline” hierarchical social environment in which they exist (boyd, 2013: 204)
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: PhD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Theses, Dept. of Media and Communication
Leicester Theses

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