The Great Indian Phone Book

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9781849043137: The Great Indian Phone Book

In India, where caste hierarchy has reinforced power for generations, the disruptive potential of the mobile phone is even more striking than elsewhere. In 2001, India had 35 million telephones, only four million of them mobiles. Ten years later, it had more than 800 million phone subscribers; more than 95 per cent were mobile phones. The authors probe the whole universe of the mobile phone - from the contests of great capitalists and governments to control radio frequency spectrum, to the ways ordinary people build the troublesome and addictive device into their daily lives.

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About the Author:

Assa Doron is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the School of Culture, History & Language, Australian National University.Robin Jeffrey is Visiting Research Professor at the Institute of South Asia Studies and Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore.

Review:

Photo by Itai Doron

A marvelous, briskly written book, combining a panoptical overview of the broader media landscape with gripping vignettes. Doron and Jeffrey write with insight and journalistic brio, making this book highly accessible to a very wide range of readers.--Christopher Pinney, University College London

This is a fascinating, smart, and erudite volume on how the Indian cell phone industry developed and what its extraordinary growth has meant for the country. It can serve as a kind of "vade mecdum" for many thousands of interested readers seeking to learn about the subject, whether as amateurs or as specialists entering a new domain.--Arvind Rajagopal, New York University

Superb...Reminds us how little we have explored the new landscape of opportunity, aspiration and, inevitably, disappointment that mobile phones have opened up in India...[A] lively book.--Pankaj Mishra"Bloomberg.com" (01/27/2013)

The book makes for fascinating reading and probes the entire universe of the mobile phone in India, the upside and the downside.--Dilip Bobb"Financial Express" (03/03/2013)

The conversation about [the cellphone's] social effects usually takes the form of lamenting obnoxious people who text over dinner or hold one-way conversations on the elevator and expressing angst about 'kids these days' and their addiction to their mobile devices. Fortunately, we now have Assa Doron and Robin Jeffrey's "The Great Indian Phone Book", which offers a comprehensive look at what cellphones have meant for India. Their story covers everything from family relations and gender barriers to terrorism and the relations of citizens to the state. Out of what could have been a dry study packed with statistics the authors have managed to write a superb book--informative, insightful, witty--that is essential reading for anyone interested in India, or technological change, or good stories told with clarity and purpose.--Isaac Chotiner"Wall Street Journal" (04/12/2013)

A timely and pioneering contribution to the green shoots of telecom literature...The book has been written for the general reader who is curious to know about the mobile revolution but cannot make sense of the numbers, charts, graphs, jargons, legalese and sophistry surrounding much of the writing on the topic...By representing a wide range of individuals and communities which have been affected by the mobile revolution in India, by judging the impact against the bedrock of existing social, political and economic structures and by suggesting realistic but complicated answers, and yet, keeping the narrative jargon and statistics free, the authors have done a remarkable job.--Subhjayoti Ray"Economic and Political Weekly" (06/08/2013)

"The Great Indian Phone Book "is admirably comprehensive, unexpectedly engaging, and underscored with an appreciation for the country Doron and Jeffrey have spent several decades of their professional lives studying as a historian and an anthropologist, respectively.
--Swati Pandey"Los Angeles Review of Books" (08/15/2013)

A remarkable tour de force", reflecting thorough research, and impressive knowledge, judgment and enthusiasm.
--Bill Kirkman"Round Table" (07/16/2013)

"The Great Indian Phone Book" is a wake-up call for anyone intrigued by today's network society. Engagingly written, intelligently researched, and enlivened with memorable anecdotes framed by deft exposition, it offers up a compelling and compellingly readable introduction to a subject of unquestioned significance: the remarkable emergence of the mobile telephone as an agent of change in the developing world.--Richard R. John, author of "Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications"

A comprehensive chronicle of how mobile phones changed Indian life, and in the process, India's economy. Capitalists, ministers, boatmen, farmers, advertising geniuses, porn peddlers, political workers, and tireless salesmen populate this story. Doron and Jeffrey's sociological take on the mobile phone as a great leveller is rich and riveting.--Sevanti Ninan, author of "Headlines from the Heartland"

Doron and Jeffrey's landmark study of how the humble mobile phone is changing the culture of Indian democracy in everyday life has no competitors. Their interdisciplinary analysis of popular aspirations and anxieties surrounding mobile telephones will invite and inspire comparative studies set in other emerging economies. A remarkable achievement.--Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago

This is an important book that can usefully be read by students, social scientists, and business managers--indeed, by anyone interested in change and its effects on developing and complex societies.--Denis O'Brien"Finance & Development" (03/01/2013)

This terrific book on the mobile revolution in India provides not just sound scholarship but also an engaging read for a broader audience, a rare double feat.
--Madanmohan Rao"Your Story" (08/29/2013)

An engaging and informative analysis of the use of cell phones in India, a nation of over one billion people, where this small device has been a harbinger of big social and economic changes and an enabler of unbridled entrepreneurship.--Tarun Khanna, author of "Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India are Reshaping Their Futures--and Yours""

Over the past ten years the number of mobile phone subscribers in India has grown from a few hundred thousand to as many as 900 million--three subscriptions for every four Indians of any age. It's...a phenomenon with deep and significant cultural effects.
Doron and Jeffrey attempt to chart the pulse of these changes, looking at the history of long-distance communication in India and the ways person-to-person information has been controlled and consumed by both the elites and the masses.
--Nate Barksdale"Books & Culture" (09/01/2013)"

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Book Description C Hurst Co Publishers Ltd, United Kingdom, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. UK ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. The cheap mobile phone is arguably the most significant personal communications device in history. In India, where caste hierarchy has reinforced power for generations, the disruptive potential of the mobile phone is even more striking than elsewhere. In 2001, India had 35 million telephones, only four million of them mobiles. Ten years later, it had more than 800 million phone subscribers; more than 95 per cent were mobile phones. In a decade, communications in India have been transformed by a device that can be shared by fisherfolk in Kerala, boatmen in Banaras, great capitalists in Mumbai and power-wielding politicians and bureaucrats in New Delhi. Village councils banned unmarried girls from having mobile phones. Families debated whether new brides should surrender them. Cheap mobile phones became photo albums, music machines and radios. Religious images and uplifting messages flooded tens of millions of phones each day. Pornographers and criminals found a tantalising new tool. In politics, organisations with cadres of true believers exploited a resource infinitely more effective than telegrams, postcards and the printing press for carrying messages to workers, followers and voters. Jeffrey and Doron focus on three groups - controllers: the bureaucrats, politicians and capitalists who wrestle over control of radio frequency spectrum; servants: the marketers, agents, technicians, tower-builders, repairers and second-hand dealers who carry mobile phones to the masses; and users: the politicians, activists, businesses and households that adapt the mobile phone to their needs. The book probes the whole universe of the mobile phone - from the contests of great capitalists and governments to control radio frequency spectrum, to the ways ordinary people build the troublesome and addictive device into their daily lives. Bookseller Inventory # AA79781849043137

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Book Description C Hurst Co Publishers Ltd, United Kingdom, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. UK ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. The cheap mobile phone is arguably the most significant personal communications device in history. In India, where caste hierarchy has reinforced power for generations, the disruptive potential of the mobile phone is even more striking than elsewhere. In 2001, India had 35 million telephones, only four million of them mobiles. Ten years later, it had more than 800 million phone subscribers; more than 95 per cent were mobile phones. In a decade, communications in India have been transformed by a device that can be shared by fisherfolk in Kerala, boatmen in Banaras, great capitalists in Mumbai and power-wielding politicians and bureaucrats in New Delhi. Village councils banned unmarried girls from having mobile phones. Families debated whether new brides should surrender them. Cheap mobile phones became photo albums, music machines and radios. Religious images and uplifting messages flooded tens of millions of phones each day. Pornographers and criminals found a tantalising new tool. In politics, organisations with cadres of true believers exploited a resource infinitely more effective than telegrams, postcards and the printing press for carrying messages to workers, followers and voters. Jeffrey and Doron focus on three groups - controllers: the bureaucrats, politicians and capitalists who wrestle over control of radio frequency spectrum; servants: the marketers, agents, technicians, tower-builders, repairers and second-hand dealers who carry mobile phones to the masses; and users: the politicians, activists, businesses and households that adapt the mobile phone to their needs. The book probes the whole universe of the mobile phone - from the contests of great capitalists and governments to control radio frequency spectrum, to the ways ordinary people build the troublesome and addictive device into their daily lives. Bookseller Inventory # AA79781849043137

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