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Shrinking fourth world? Mobiles, development, and inclusion

Jonathan Donner


This chapter revisits Castells’ assertion that the Informational Society has brought about a ‘fourth world’ of marginalized peoples, bypassed by information technologies and excluded from significant participation in the economic and social organization of the new millennium. Using the fourth world framework, it considers the economic implications of mobile technologies in the poorest parts of the globe. It argues that increased access and use of mobile telephony worldwide may erode, but not eliminate, the fourth world as a significant phenomenon. In addition, it uses the case of mobile use under cases of extreme economic scarcity to reflect on the current state of theory about mobile communication.


Publication typeInbook
PublisherMIT Press
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