Mobile telephony and copresence in Marakwet, Kenya
The integration of mobile phones into social life has attracted divergent views on its technosocial capacities for social transformations especially its disruption on the integrity of space and time. While celebrated as a technology that liberates users from the constraints of time and place, it is equally reviled for the defilement of place or space and face to face social encounters (copresence). This paper discusses the influence of mobile telephony on social interactions with specific focus on conversations around copresence in Marakwet. Through ethnographic interviews and observational notes, the paper argues for the need to study mobile telephony as a social assemblage. Drawing from Delanda’s (2006) version of assemblage theory, the researcher finds that copresent encounters has changed the way time and place is conceptualised, with distinctions between private and public places blurred and transformation of social interaction evidenced.
Keywords: mobile telephony, co-presence, assemblage, time and space, private versus public spaces