Technology workers in Bangalore use mobile phones to bridge modern and cultural values -- to facilitate arranged marriages, as one example. They also rely on the phones to maintain personal relationships despite the modern realities of living apart or working hectic schedules, suggests research by doctoral student Carolyn Wei in the University of Washington's department of technical communication.
The research was conducted last summer in the fast-growing city of 6.1 million that is experiencing forces of globalization and modernization. Many educated Indian people have moved to Bangalore to work for foreign corporations. The 20 participants in the study were aged from 18 to 30 years, and were fairly typical of young people who have moved to Bangalore for jobs, Wei said. They were financially stable, most had lived in Bangalore for less than two years and most spoke both English and Hindi but none of the local languages. More than half the study participants worked the graveyard shift because they provided technical support for people working during the daytime in North America.
"The people I studied were in this 24/7 environment and they were always on the go," Wei said. Many were involved in long-distance relationships with someone working or studying in another city. The phone provided couples with a "perpetual virtual connection." For people working long hours and commuting in Bangalore's heavy traffic, the mobile phone was even crucial for maintaining relationships with people in the same city.
Technology also played a role in arranged marriages, something most study participants considered as an option for finding a partner.
"The mobile phone makes it a little easier to facilitate an arranged marriage at a distance," Wei said. She discovered instances where people used mobile phones to get to know partners vetted and approved by their parents. Mobile phones could influence the trend toward relaxing traditions on the amount of contact permitted before marriage, Wei said.
The research found several instances where mobile phones played a role in romance:
Between working couples: One research participant often called or sent text messages to his wife, also living in Bangalore. If he lost his mobile phone he would be scared, he said, not because he had lost a phone but because he had lost this connection with his wife.Traditional etiquette: Indian mobile phone companies typically bill the person making the call. Men will occasionally ignore or hang up on a girlfriend and then call her right back, a modern instance of picking up the tab.
Domestic spats: One partner might deliberately ignore calls to punish the other, or one might become angry when the other wasn't answering. In one instance a participant threatened his partner that he would not answer her calls for a month.
Mobile phones and their owners have developed such a close relationship that the devices are often taken for granted, Wei said, like wristwatches and eyeglasses. There are now nearly 150 million cell phone subscribers in India, according to a recent report by the market research firm IDC; more than two thirds of the country's phones are mobile. Wei's accompanying literature review found that most studies of cell phones' influence on youth culture have taken place in the West, while studies elsewhere focus on purely economic uses.
Beth Kolko, Wei's advisor and an associate professor in the department of technical communication, researches how people in emerging markets, particularly in Central Asia, use new technologies.
"What Carolyn has done it take this really interesting element of youth culture -- courtship -- and identified how mobile phones interact with those pre-existing patterns of interaction," Kolko said. "Technology doesn't trump culture, it doesn't change culture on its own, but it is a force that pushes against cultural patterns."
For more information, contact Wei at (206) 354-8723 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Kolko at (206) 685-3809 or email@example.com.
Hannah Hickey | EurekAlert!
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences