This seminar series invites academics representing a variety of disciplinary and methodological approaches (big data analysts, ethnographers, development economists) to address the complex and dynamic role played by technology in facilitating, controlling, substituting or transforming mobility processes and their outcomes in Africa.

Through the production and adoption of new information and communications technologies, Africa is going through a major transition. The spread of mobile phones within and across African countries is only one technological success story among others, including the fibre-optic cabling now connecting coastal areas to high-speed internet and the roll-out of ‘mobile money’ in East Africa. The vast literature on ICT and development in Africa often assumes such technologies can overcome all development challenges on the continent. However, some scholars are beginning to express scepticism about the transformative potential of ICTs, and some are highlighting the dangers of overstating the positive improvements which technology can make. A prevailing technological determinism moreover fails to understand development as an outcome of wider social dynamics and seeing technology as merely one aspect of how people manage their lives. In particular, migration and mobility has been conspicuously absent from current debates on technology and development in Africa. Very recent studies have indirectly explored new forms of mobility and immobility induced by technological development in Africa and Asia. However, the complex relationship between human mobility, technology and development in Africa has not yet been systematically addressed.

This seminar series invites academics representing a variety of disciplinary and methodological approaches (big data analysts, ethnographers, development economists) to address the complex and dynamic role played by technology in facilitating, controlling, substituting or transforming mobility processes and their outcomes in Africa.

Technology and Mobilities in Africa Seminar Series is organized by the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) and the Oxford Department of International Development (ODID), and co-convened by Sanna Ojanperä, Dr Gunvor Jónsson and Dr Marie Godin.

These seminars will take place on Tuesday evenings from 4:30pm-6pm at the Oxford Internet Institute, 1 St Giles, Oxford, OX1 3JS.