Back | Programme Area: Technology and Society (2000 - 2009)
Senegalese Emigrés and New Information and Communication Technologies (Draft)
In this paper, Serigne Mansour Tall examines the strategies used by Senegalese émigrés to appropriate new information and communication technologies (NICTs). Emigration increased rapidly between 1980 and 1990, and its economic and social implications grew in significance. These migratory flows diversified in terms of their departure points and destinations, making complex the challenge of preserving relationships with families at home. As Senegalese emigrated to countries with fewer links to Senegal, the need to find ways of maintaining long-distance relationships became more urgent.
How do the émigrés appropriate NICTs? How do the new technologies provide for financial transfers without the physical movement of funds? What role do the émigrés play in the penetration of new technologies in certain disadvantaged sectors? What are the economic and social implications of this advance of NICTs? Tall shows that the types of use made of the new technologies follow from a complex process of appropriation that can make a highly personal tool such as the cellular telephone into a collective instrument to bring a village out of its isolation and connect it with the world.
Tall concludes that the emergence of the new technologies and their appropriation by émigrés creates new social configurations both in the new home and in the community of origin, and contributes to the emergence of new spatial understandings.
This is the draft English translation of Tall's contribution to the volume Le Sénégal à l'heure de l'information: Technologies et société (edited by Momar-Coumba Diop, Editions Karthala, Paris and UNRISD, Geneva, 2002).
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