Abstract - The Information Society 24(2)

Mobilising poverty? Mobile phone use and everyday spatial mobility among low income families in Santiago, Chile

Sebastian Ureta

In the last few decades physical mobility has become one of the key elements of contemporary societies. This centrality of mobility also means the development of a new kind of social exclusion caused by the problems of living in a social context in which one has to be increasingly “on the move” to access goods and services. In this paper, based on fieldwork conducted with 20 low-income family inhabitants of the city of Santiago, Chile, we study the role that mobile phone usage has in relation to physical mobility in the everyday lives of these individuals. Through an analysis of the pattern of usage and mobility of these devices, we arrive at the conclusion that rather than giving rise to an experience of constant mobility and “anytime-anywhere” availability, the individuals studied face limitations and exclusions which profoundly constrict the potential ‘mobility’ afforded by these devices.


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