December, 2011

Call for papers – Convergence special issue on mobile media in Brazil

Convergence: The international journal of research into new media technologies

Cell phones and communities: The use of mobile media in Brazil

Edited by:

Adriana de Souza e Silva (North Carolina State University)
Isabel Froes (IT University of Copenhagen)

Important dates:
Abstracts: February 15th, 2012 (500 words).
Notification of accepted abstracts: March 15th, 2012.
Full papers: June 15th, 2012 (8000/9000 words).
Notification of accepted papers: September 15th, 2012.

By the second decade of the 21st century, mobile phones have reached saturation levels in many countries in the world, surpassing the number of landlines and personal computers. Although initial scholarly interest on the social use of mobile phones focused on Europe, Asia, and the United States, the impact of mobile phone on the developing world (or Global South) is increasingly evident and perhaps much more profound. As Ling and Horst (2011) note, “the mobile phone has quietly provided people at the bottom of the income pyramid access to electronically mediated communication; often for the first time.” For many, the mobile device is the first phone, the first internet connection, the first TV set, and the first global positioning system.

Among developing nations, Brazil is a key site for studying the social dimension of mobile technologies. The country is part of the so-called BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China), an acronym that refers to fast-growing developing economies. Brazil is the fastest growing economy in Latin America, and has over 217 million mobile phones, which represents an average of 111 working devices per 100 inhabitants . The country has also experienced one of the fastest mobile phone growth rates in the world since 2005 (averaging 16.6% annually); is the largest mobile phone market in Latin America; and is the fifth-largest mobile market in the world in absolute numbers, with roughly 217 million subscriptions as of September 2011. However, numbers alone reveal little if not analyzed within a broader social, cultural, and economic framework. The focus on a homogeneous large-scale market leads to overly sanguine perspectives that often obscure how socioeconomic diversity causes and reflects mobile phone use. As in many developing countries, Brazil has astounding income gaps among different sectors of the population which influence and are influenced by technology development and use. For example, the use of high-end services such as mobile banking, and location-based services like Foursquare and Yelp is an intrinsic part of the daily mobile practices of the high-income population in the country. Conversely, the lower-income population in Rio de Janeiro is familiar with the diretão—a mobile phone that allows users to make clandestine calls to anywhere in the world with the use of an illegal sim card. However, Brazil has also been at the forefront of an experimental and innovative approach towards new technologies, forecasted in cultural events that focus on art, music and film festivals dedicated to new and creative uses of mobile technologies, such as the Mobilefest and

Despite this cultural and socio-economic diversity, and the relevance of its marketing, the social use and development of mobile phones in Brazil is largely under theorized and poorly studied. With the goal of contributing to bridge this gap, this special edition invites essays that critically investigate the inter-relations among mobile technologies, culture, and social development within the Brazilian society.

Submitted manuscripts are encouraged (but not limited) to focus on four main areas:
(1) History of mobile phones in Brazil. Essays are encouraged to explore the development of mobile phones in Brazil, comparing them to the landline infrastructure and internet growth within the Latin America socio-economic and political framework. Authors may explore the development and use of new mobile services, such as the mobile internet, text messaging, mobile apps, etc.

(2) Social uses and appropriation of mobile phones. We welcome essays as empirical or theoretical studies dealing with the use and appropriation of technology by low-income communities. Of special interest are essays that explore how mobile and wireless technologies reconfigure the life of community dwellers and how people find new and unexpected uses for existing technologies.

(3) Mobile art and games. We invite essays that investigate mobile phones as artistic and gaming interfaces, including essays that explore uses of hybrid reality, location-aware and pervasive activities in educational contexts, media arts, and gaming.

(4) Location-based services. Submitted essays should investigate the uses and development of location-based services in Brazil, such as mobile annotation, location-based social networks, and mobile mapping.

Proposed abstracts (500 words) are due by February 15th, 2012. The authors will be notified about accepted abstracts by March 15th. Those accepted will be requested to submit full papers by June 15th, 2012. Full papers will undergo a double blind-review process. Submissions may be in the form of empirical research studies or theory-building papers and should be 8000/9000 words in English. Papers must also include a brief biography of the author(s). Proposals and inquiries should be sent electronically to Isabel Froes (
About the editors:
Adriana de Souza e Silva is Associate Professor at the Department of Communication at North Carolina State University (NCSU), affiliated faculty at the Digital Games Research Center, and Interim Associate Director of the Communication, Rhetoric and Digital Media (CRDM) program at NCSU.Dr. de Souza e Silva’s research focuses on how mobile and locative interfaces shape people’s interactions with public spaces and create new forms of sociability. She teaches classes on mobile technologies, location-based games and internet studies. Dr. de Souza e Silva is the co-editor (with Daniel M. Sutko) of Digital Cityscapes—Merging digital and urban playspaces (Peter Lang, 2009), the co-author (with Eric Gordon) of the book Net-Locality: Why location matters in a networked world (Blackwell, 2011), and the co-author (with Jordan Frith) of Mobile interfaces in public spaces: Control, privacy, and urban sociability (Routledge, 2012).

Isabel Fróes has received her Masters degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Programme at New York University (NYU) and a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Pontifícia Universidade Católica, Rio de Janeiro, PUC-RJ in Brazil. She is a lecturer at the IT University of Copenhagen (Denmark), where she works both as a practitioner and scholar in the fields of communication, mobility, art and design. With a focus towards valuable interactions between people and technology, her research analyzes the future implications and current uses of digital media. In her courses she taps into the value of interactive elements in every arena and explores how they could affect the ways new concepts and activities are developed in distinct fields. She has presented some of these thoughts at various events such as the AAM conference (2009), and the IXDA South America (2010). She has taught various courses at Danish institutions such as IT University of Copenhagen, University of Copenhagen and Kolding School of Design as well as Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Querétaro in Mexico.

Proposals and inquiries should be sent electronically to Isabel Froes (

Call for papers – Migration and mobility from the inside

Call for Papers – EDITED BOOK
Migration and Mobility from the Inside: Reflections on Insiderness

Book Editors:
Lejla Voloder and Liudmila Kirpitchenko, Monash University, Australia

Contact emails:
With an increasing proportion of migration and mobility field studies being conducted by migrants and members of ethnic minorities in ‘home’ contexts, questions regarding insider/outsider positionings and the emergent implications of insiderness inevitably arise and require critical attention.  Insider positionings offer multiple advantages, while also presenting diverse challenges to those who embark on this research path. This international collection provides a much-needed scholarly insight into the various challenges, possibilities, and implications of ‘insider research’ within migration studies.
The volume analyses key methodological, ethical and epistemological challenges faced by migration researchers who, in diverse ways, identify personally with the research topic and/or their participants. Drawing together the latest anthropological and sociological research on international migration and mobility, the authors present diverse case studies that may address one or more of the following themes:
1. multiple dimensions of insiderness
2. diverse approaches to the construction and claim to insider/outsider positionings
3. politics of being an insider in the research field
4. challenges of conducting research in ‘home’ contexts
5. limitations and advantages of insider methods in the study of migration, mobility, identities and belonging
6. ethical considerations in conducting insider research
7.  issues of auto-ethnography in the research endeavour
8. questions of power and authority in insider research
9. the role of research participants in defining insider positions
10. emotional connections and obligations toward participants 
11. dealing with challenges or denials to the researcher’s claim to insiderness
12. disputed meanings of ‘home’ and the ways ‘home’ is challenged and redefined during field-research

We are looking for chapter proposals that explore themes of insiderness and outsiderness within the migration and mobility research field.

Interested authors are invited to submit abstracts/chapter proposals (approx. 200 words) and a biographical sketch by 20 December 2011.   The abstract should include where the case study (if the chapter presents one) was conducted – including information on the number of participants involved in any empirical research. Notification of acceptance will be sent in January 2012.

Final submissions of no more than 7,000 words (including notes and references) must be submitted by 30 April 2012.

Please send abstracts or queries to: or

New publication -Translocal Ruralism: Mobility and Connectivity in European Rural Spaces

Translocal Ruralism:  Mobility and Connectivity in European Rural Spaces
Hedberg, Charlotta;  Carmo, Renato Miguel do (Eds.), Springer, Serie:GeoJournal Library, Vol. 103

Rural areas are often viewed as isolated and stagnating areas and urban areas as their opposites. Against such a backdrop, this book seeks to unveil a set of dynamics that view rural areas as ‘translocal’ in the sense that they are ‘changing’ and ‘inter­connected’. . Social transformations take place in rural areas as the result of intense exchanges between different people, settings and geographies. Accordingly, rural-urban but also rural-rural interrelations on international and national scales are strongly contributing to rural change. Translocal ruralism is exemplified through the analysis of local and global migratory flows, the activities of rural firms in national and glo­bal arenas, the spread of different forms of transportation and dislocation, and the growing information society, which enables rural spaces to be connected to the world and improves new ways of interconnection and sociability practices.

New publication: Brazilian Railway Culture

New Publication: “Brazilian Railway Culture” by Martin Cooper

Is now available at
“Brazilian Railway Culture” examines the cultural relationship Brazil has had with its railways since tracks were first laid by British, American and French engineers in the nineteenth century.
It takes a journey through Brazilian cultural output from 1865 to the present day, examining novels, poetry, music, art, film and television, as well as autobiographies, written histories, and museums to uncover ways in which the railway has been presented and re-presented.
This interdisciplinary study engages with theories of informal empire and postcolonialism, Latin American studies, cultural studies, film and television studies, literary criticism, art history and criticism, museum and heritage studies, as well as railway studies.
This is a supplementary text for use by students on both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. list of websites . It will also be of interest to academics, researchers, and railway historians across a range of disciplines.

Martin Cooper is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Media at the University of Huddersfield, England, and a former BBC journalist. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of both the Society of Latin American Studies and the Institute of Railway Studies and Transport History.

“Martin Cooper takes the study of Brazil’s iron roads in new directions. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in how South Americans culturally appropriated a key technology of European imperialism.”
 – Prof. Colin Divall, Head of the Institute of Railway Studies & Transport History, run jointly by the University of York and the National Railway Museum, York

“The book is an innovative and wide-ranging study of the many ways in which the railway has worked its way into and helped form the Brazilian imagination. It provides new and exciting perspectives both on Brazilian culture and on the changing role of railways in moulding modernity in different cultures.”
– Dr. Robert Howes, Research Associate in the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, King’s College, London