The Digitizing Family
An Ethnography of Melanesian Smartphones
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At once a digital ethnography of smartphones and a classically conceived village-based ethnography, this book relocates the study of digital technologies to rural Melanesia, with a focus on the Lau of Malaita, Soloman Islands. In this ‘technography’, Geoffrey Hobbis studies the materiality and functional attributes of smartphones and their object biographies—modes of acquisition, maintenance, uses, limitations and the problems specific to this region in adopting and adapting smartphones in everyday life. As he examines the various uses of smartphones, as both telephone and multimedia device, Hobbis also explores the social and cultural transformations, the hopes and uncertainties, with which they are associated. Ultimately, in bringing together a study of digital technologies with classical anthropological theory, The Digitizing Family develops a theory of smartphones as kinship technologies and supercompositional objects.