Mobile phones in the transformation of the informal economy: stories from market women in Kampala, Uganda

Mobile phones in the transformation of the informal economy: stories from market women in Kampala, Uganda

Author: 
Larsson, Caroline Wamala
Place: 
Oxon
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis Group
Date published: 
2018
Record type: 
Responsibility: 
Svensson, Jakob, jt. author
Journal Title: 
Journal of Eastern African Studies
Source: 
Journal of Eastern African Studies, Vol. 12, No.3, August 2018, pp. 533-551
Abstract: 

This research project is situated within the area mobile technologies for development (M4D), i.e. that mobile communication technologies play a vital role in the livelihood of people in developing regions. Out of a larger explorative study of how market women in Kampala use their mobile phone(s), this article focuses on the transformation of the so-called informal economy, here in the form of Kampala street markets. Departing from stories of the women themselves, the article discusses the role of mobile telephony in this transformation. The street markets today have become hybridized as mobile money allows for non-street transactions. The appropriation of the mobile phone into these micro enterprises, we argue, has the potential to produce new regulatory spaces, considering that mobile services, located in the formal sector, are deeply embedded in Kampala's informal economic practices. To make sense of these results, we turn to science, technology and society studies (STS). STS helps us understand the mutual co-production of mobile phone practices and the transformation of the street markets. The mobile phone represents a force for change in the market women's economic activities, at once challenging and reinforcing the informality of the Kampala markets.

Language: 
Country focus: 
Date created: 
Thursday, November 29, 2018