Connected: How a Mexican Village Built Its Own Cell Phone Network (Paperback)
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This is the true story of how, against all odds, a remote Mexican pueblo built its own autonomous cell phone network—without help from telecom companies or the government. Anthropologist Roberto J. González paints a vivid and nuanced picture of life in a Oaxaca mountain village and the collective tribulation, triumph, and tragedy the community experienced in pursuit of getting connected. In doing so, this book captures the challenges and contradictions facing Mexico's indigenous peoples today, as they struggle to wire themselves into the 21st century using mobile technologies, ingenuity, and sheer determination. It also holds a broader lesson about the great paradox of the digital age, by exploring how constant connection through virtual worlds can hinder our ability to communicate with those around us.
About the Author
Roberto J. González is chair of the Department of Anthropology at San José State University. He is the author of several books, including Zapotec Science: Farming and Food in the Northern Sierra of Oaxaca.
"A fascinating account of rural innovation."
— New Scientist
"Readers will appreciate the clarity, warmth and humility of the authorial voice, which makes the book a delightful read. Gonzalez paints an empathetic picture of a community at a moment of profound change. . . . Students and teachers will find this a valuable case study for reflecting on ethnographic realities in the digital age."
— PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review
"The case study demonstrates that alternatives to commercial service were possible. However, the community still depended on surrounding infrastructures as well as external technological and legal expertise. González’s book is a crucial contribution to understanding this."
— Technology and Culture