Mobile Phones in Conflict-Stressed Environments: Macro, Meso and Microanalysis

Title: Mobile Phones in Conflict-Stressed Environments: Macro, Meso and Microanalysis
Format: Chapter
Publication Date: June 2011
Publisher Springer
Description: According to different levels of analysis, mobile phones not only survive but thrive in conflict-stressed environments. In low- and middle-income countries mobile phone penetration correlates with a state’s level of economic, political, and social development. In contrast, levels of cellular phone use do not relate to a country’s security instability. Conflict-stressed states are as likely (or not) to have high levels of mobile phone penetration as secure states. We then look at the case of Iraq and its post-invasion communications sector. Since the 2003 war, Iraq has seen the world’s second highest level of annual growth in mobile phone penetration and has been rated as the region’s most competitive mobile phone market. The Coalition Provisional Authority did a good job in setting up independent state regulation of the sector, though due to corruption and mismanagement they poorly handled financial elements. In contrast, the current Iraqi government is showing signs of political regression, threatening the independent regulation of the sector and therefore the sector’s continued strong growth. Finally, in post-conflict Liberia we examine how and why individuals make use of their mobiles. We find that among rural and urban populations, respondents report using their phone for business purposes, to connect with family and friends, and even as a technological curiosity. But common across all groups of respondents is an appreciation of the phone as an instrument for safety and security.
Ivan Allen College Contributors:
Citation: Mobile Technologies for Conflict Management. 15 - 26. Springer. DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-1384-0_2.
Related Departments:
  • Center for International Strategy, Technology, and Policy
  • School of International Affairs