Message in a Mobile
198 Pages
English
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Message in a Mobile

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198 Pages
English

Description

This detailed, meticulous ethnographic study on mobile phone use among Nuba students at the University of Khartoum in Sudan, distinguishes itself from other studies by taking a focused look at the linguistic content of mobile phone interactions via text-messaging, portraying it as a site for the expression of personalized and affective language. While men and women appear to be equally aggressive consumers and producers of text-message poetry, women are formally discouraged in using the phone for relations that go beyond the publicly acceptable norms of �keeping in touch� and making arrangements. Nonetheless, women use it for such purposes and many manage it discreetly, showing how this technology can serve to subvert discursive norms on gender and marriage. The mobile phone in Sudan enhances individual autonomy over interactions, making possible the extension and creation of social spaces. It simultaneously enlarges private space and trespasses into public space. Poetic themes and language, previously limited to elite producers � those both more literate and who had control over mass media domains, radio and newspapers � are exposed to anonymous recipients, who draw from, copy or forward them in continuous circulation, thereby staking a claim in the public sphere. Similarly, the mobile phone serves as a site for the exercise of several layers of identity in negotiation, and reflects or creates alternative identities and the contestation of existing discourses, communities in physical space and notions of belonging.

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Published 01 November 2011
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EAN13 9789956726455
Language English
Document size 1 MB

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Exrait

‘Message in a Mobile’MixedMessages, Tales of Missing and Mobile Communities at the University of Khartoum
Siri Lamoureaux
ϝ΍ϮΟ ϰϓ ϪϟΎγέ ‘Message in a mobile’
Langaa & African Studies Centre
ϝ΍ϮΟ ϰϓ ϪϟΎγέ risaala fi jawaal
‘Message in a mobile’
Mixed-messages, tales of missing and mobile communities at the University of Khartoum
Siri Lamoureaux
Langaa Research and Publishing Common Initiative Group PO Box 902 Mankon Bamenda North West Region Cameroon Phone +237 33 07 34 69 / 33 36 14 02 LangaaGrp@gmail.com www.africanbookscollective.com/publishers/langaa-rpcig
African Studies Centre P.O. Box 9555 2300 RB Leiden The Netherlands asc@asc.leidenuniv.nl http//:asc.leidenuniv.nl
Cover photo:Two girls sitting under a tree at the university Photos:Siri Lamoureaux
ISBN: 9956-726-89-3
© Langaa & African Studies Centre, 2011
Contents
List of pictures ................................................................................................................ vii Acknowledgements ....................................................................................................... viii
1 Introduction...............................................................................................................1 Mobile phones and network society..................................................................................4 Situating the study: Initial research question......................................................................7 New media – new communities........................................................................................9 Working with youth cultures: Community, identity and autonomy....................................13 Re-directing my research...............................................................................................15 Interdisciplinarity: Organizing my ideas..........................................................................19
2 Memories of Mekwar: Historical identities and student diversity.............23 Pre-colonial history.....................................................................................................24 Center vs. periphery ....................................................................................................25 Ethno-linguistic peripheries and national identity ......................................................28 Processes of migration: The making of the urban capital...........................................29 The National Islamic Front (NIF) and the new Islamic state .....................................32 What does it mean to be Sudanese?..................................................................................34
3 Discourse and identity:  Texting in the Sudanese communicative ecology..........................................36 ‘Keeping in touch’: Sudanese communicative style...................................................38 Texting as a semi-oral medium...................................................................................41 Discursive identities....................................................................................................45 Classical Arabic and Sudanese colloquial Arabic in texting ......................................46 Space for alternative identities....................................................................................51
4 Nuba and urban identity: The discourse of resistance and the practice of integration.........................53 Joseph’s story..............................................................................................................53 The “Nuba problem”: Discourses of othering ............................................................56 On becoming “Arab” ..................................................................................................59 Research question revisited ........................................................................................60 Lessons in methodology: The Karko students ............................................................61 The Krongo picnic ......................................................................................................64 Paths of acculturation: contradiction of ideology and practice...................................65 Flexible identities:KrongawiNubaawiSudaani..................................................68
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5 Text message poetry (shi‘ar iliktrooni):  The broader effects of personal practices........................................................73 Alessandro’s story.......................................................................................................73 The sending and receiving of poetic messages ...........................................................76 Poetry in the Sudanese context ...................................................................................81 The ‘social circulation’ of SMS poetry and the ‘mediation’ of ‘missing’..................90 Intertextual texting ......................................................................................................92 Recontextualization and the public imagination.........................................................99
6 Love in the time of mobility:  Careful appropriations and courtship negotiations......................................106 Leila’s story ..............................................................................................................106 Public vs. private in Sudan .......................................................................................111 Women’s space in the Hamad family’s home ..........................................................112 Islamic fundamentalist Discourse on women ...........................................................116 Courtship and social space: maneuvering on the margins ........................................119 The mobile phone and the semi-private social space for love ..................................121 Romantic curiosities and moral crises ......................................................................127 The space in-between: Beinga “good Muslim” and a desiring individual....................130 Leila sets an example ................................................................................................133
7 Being “modern”: From Shakespeare to chat room literacy.......................136 Fellah’s story.............................................................................................................136 The mobile phone is a technology and a symbol of modernity ................................138 English is a technology and a symbol of modernity .................................................143 The Gulf is modern place..........................................................................................145 Coming from the Gulf...............................................................................................147 Globalization of English and computer-mediated communication (CMC)..............149 How global and local mingle in Sudanese – English texting ...................................152 Belonging in a globalized world ...............................................................................164
8 Conclusion  ………………..……………….……………………………………………………………..167
Appendix 1: Transcription conventions ........................................................................176 Appendix 2: List of terms..............................................................................................178 References .....................................................................................................................179
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List of pictures
1.1 1.2 2.1 5.1 5.2 6.1 6.2 7.1 7.2
A mosque shares the skyline with a new cell tower............................................................ 3 Students on campus (picture of young woman in red top)................................................ 16 The University of Khartoum ............................................................................................ 33 Three students all observing that they all had the same message in (5.8) above .............. 80 Pyramids of the Napatan Kingdom of Kush, one of the pre-Islamic sources of inspiration for Haqiiba poets............................................................................................. 89 On a bench at the University .......................................................................................... 120 Semi private items: Mobile phones and prayer rugs ...................................................... 122 The modern Zain logo dominates downtown Khartoum ............................................... 139 A woman in a Zain town on a street in Khartoum ......................................................... 142
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Acknowledgements
(0)
Ϫϴϟ ϰϟϮϗ ϪϴΤλ έΎψΘϧϻ΍ Ϧϣ ϙήΒλ Ϟϣ ϥ΍ϭ ϮϬϴΠϋΰΗ ϻ ϙϮΟέ΍ Ϣ΋Ύϧ ϪΘϴϘϟ ϥ΍ϭ ϮϬϳέϭίϭ ΰϳΰόϟ ϪϟΎγέ Ύϳ ϰΣϭέ ϮϬϴΟήΤΗ ϻ ήϜϔΑ ϮϬϴϠΧ ϚΑϭΎΟ Ύϣ ϥ΍ϭ ϙΰόΑ ϪϟΎγήϟ΍ ΐΣΎλ
ruuHii ya risaala l-‘aziz wa zuuriihuu wa in ligiithu naa’im arjuuk la taz ‘ajiihu wa in mella Sabrik min al-intizaar SaHiihu guuli leehu Sahib al-risaala bi‘izik wa in ma jaawabik khalliihu yafakir la taHrjiihuu
‘Go message to the kind one and visit him and if you find him sleeping please don’t bother him and if you lose patience from waiting wake him up and tell him the message owner appreciates you and if he does not reply you let him think don’t embarrass him’
This is one of my favourite text messages in the corpus that I collected. It is personified, meaning it takes on human qualities, and would better represent me than a few written words. I would like to think it could carry me to all those that I would like to thank personally and show my appreciation to for their support, kindness, help, interest, guidance, tolerance or whatever role was taken. In Sudan, I first must thank my dear friends and helpers, who prefer to remain under the pseudonyms Rashid and Imen but without whom I could never have made sense of any of this. I deeply appreciate their keen insight into the research and their endless energy and creativity not to mention the long exhausting hours in translation and typing. Moreover, I miss the relaxed afternoons drinking tea and musing about life in Sudan, discussions of people, poetry, music and other things. Many other students and friends at the University of Khartoum deserve mention, Joseph, Alessandro, Fellah, Samia, Hashim, Lu’lu’, Hatim are only a few among many. Hisham Bilal, thanks for picking me up at 5 o’clock in the morning, helping me buy my very important telephone number, but especially your friendship. Leila, and my other “sisters” Sara and Ashwag, and Mama, who were my family while in Sudan, thank you for introducing me to Sudanese life. I appreciate the working space, the sponsorship and the support provided by the Linguistics Department at the University of Khartoum. I am glad to have had the opportunity to teach a class there. To Dr. Omar al Siddiq at the Arabic Language Institute, Neda in the linguistics library, Abir, Suzan and Maha and Prof. Mugaddam. In Leiden, I am especially grateful to my supervisor Inge Brinkman at the African Studies Centre, who helped me develop my ideas, encouraged my work and carefully plowed through all the chapters. I really enjoyed and appreciated our discussions. And to Mirjam de Bruijn for nourishing and supporting my
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