Field work in Zambia
The Lusaka, Zambia fieldwork puts a particular focus on the promise and imagined potential of new media in processes and ideologies of economic development.
Starting from Zambia’s official self-representation as a middle-income country boasting significant economic growth as well as the growing emergence of a new middle class, the project examines how new media practices relate to changing imaginaries of development and evolving class relations (cf. Ferguson 1999, Potts 2009, Willems 2012).
How do Zambians imagine the role of new media in processes of economic and social change, and to what extent do new media offer new spaces for reflection and dialogue on these processes in their own right? What sort of ideologies and discourses are mediated via new media platforms and through their uses, and to what extent do these sites and practices produce new subjectivities and inequalities?
As part of the Zambia case study, Wendy Willems and a MA student, will carry out semi-structured interviews with Zambians from different class backgrounds in two sites in Lusaka: the upmarket Arcades Shopping Mall and the large, informal Soweto Market. Furthermore, the project will carry out a discourse analysis of messages posted by new media users on social network sites (i.e. Facebook, Twitter) and ICT policy documents produced by a range of stakeholders, including government departments, mobile phone companies and NGOs.
The data gathering will take place between mm/yyyy and mm/yyyy.
Researchers active in Zambia
Head of research team, Zambia
London School of Economics
University of Lusaka