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La revolución digital: mobile media use in contemporary Cuba

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Recent scholarship on mobile internet use in the Global South highlights access disparities, along with shifting social practices that accompany greater web connectivity. Cuba is part of the Global South, and ranks among the least internet connected countries in the world. Venegas’[2010. Digital dilemmas: The state, the individual, and digital media in Cuba. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press] thorough account of technology use in Cuba positions Cuban digital media as an assemblage of political, economic, historical, and global factors. Recently, however, mobile digital technologies in Cuba have undergone rapid transformation. Continuing tensions between the US and Cuba remain part of how the country's infrastructure and internet practices develop in location-specific ways. In this paper, we utilize ethnographically-informed data to provide a case study of the mobile internet adaptations in Havana, Cuba. Specifically, we draw upon Sutko and de Souza e Silva [2010. Location-aware mobile media and urban sociability. New Media & Society, 13(5), 807–823] framework for location-aware mobile media and urban sociability to examine the unique communication and coordination practices of Havana internet culture. Additionally, Massey [2005. For space. London: Sage] and Wiley and Packer [2010. Rethinking communication after the mobilities turn. The Communication Review, 13(4), 263–268] notions of space allow investigation of Cuban cultural technologies within a larger social field. These theoretical lenses enable interrogation of mobile device adaptations on mobility, sociability, and space to position Cuban media use as an assemblage of local and global forces.
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Keywords: Cuba; Global South; Havana; mobilities; sociability; space

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA

Publication date: June 3, 2018

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