Uses of mobile phones in post-conflict Liberia

Title: Uses of mobile phones in post-conflict Liberia
Format: Conference
Publication Date: December 2009
Description: Liberia is a country emerging from years of protracted and devastating civil conflict. Left without any fixed line telephone infrastructure, it relies solely on the mobile phone for telephony. This study investigates the usage of mobile phones in this immediate post-conflict setting. In particular, we adopt the uses and gratifications approach to media research, giving focus to both instrumental and intrinsic motivations for use. Mobile phone users in both the capital city of Monrovia and in various rural areas were surveyed using the Q methodology, which identified distinct perspectives within these urban and rural groups. Participants were then sorted into groups where each group contained users with similar perspectives on their mobile phones. These identified groups included sets of users who saw their phones as productivity enhancers, means of connectivity to family and friends, essential business tools, technological curiosities, and sources of personal security. The idea of a phone as a stylish object was markedly rejected, especially in rural areas. We contrast these Q-sort results from Liberia with previous work from Kigali, Rwanda, finding differences especially as related to security.
Ivan Allen College Contributors:
Citation: 468 - 477. DOI 10.1109/ICTD.2009.5426680.
Related Departments:
  • Center for International Strategy, Technology, and Policy
  • School of International Affairs