Abstract - The Information Society 27(3)

Mobile Phones and the Cultural Ecology of Fishing in Kerala, India

T. T. Sreekumar

Studies that go beyond the ICT4D (Information and Communication Technologies for Development) framework emphasize the social and cultural dimensions of mobile phones. Nevertheless, the cultural dimension, in literature pertaining to both urban and rural use patterns, typically takes an individualistic orientation. The possibility of actualizing the collectivistic logic in a community’s appropriation of new technologies is mostly overlooked. The present paper explores how the fishers community in Kerala, India, uses mobile phone in culturally enhancing and ecologically oriented ways, that improves their working and living conditions. In the case of Kerala fishers, the impulse towards cooperation has long been ingrained in their culture, as it often happens among marginalized groups. The availability of mobile technologies has allowed for the amplification of this impulse and enabled new modes of cooperation, especially in sharing of information on promising fishing spots and safety and rescue at sea.

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