Geographical Imagination and Technological Connectivity in East Africa

Graham, M., Andersen, C., and Mann, L. 2015 Geographies of Connectivity in East Africa: Trains, Telecommunications, and Technological Teleologies. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 40(3) 334-349.

43 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2014 Last revised: 7 Dec 2015

Mark Graham

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Casper Andersen

Independent

Laura Mann

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of International Development

Date Written: October 28, 2014

Abstract

The paper analyses and compares two transformative moments of technologically-mediated change in East Africa, the construction of the Uganda railway between Mombasa and Lake Victoria (1896-1903) and the introduction of fibre-optic cables that landed into the ports of Dar Es Salaam and Mombasa in 2009.

It uses discourse analysis to examine how technologically-mediated connectivity has been represented by political and economic actors during these transformative moments. In both cases, we explore the origins of the expectations of connectivity and the hope and fear associated with them.

Building on Massey’s notion of power-geometry and Sheppard’s concept of positionality the paper focuses on power relationships in discussions of connectivity and asks how people understand the abilities of transformative technologies to modify positionalities and alter relational distance and proximity. Ultimately, by examining historical and contemporary expectations of connectivity in East Africa, this paper allows us to work towards creating more grounded and historicised understandings of the coming-together of technology and connectivity.

Keywords: paper, East Africa broadband, connectivity, transportation, East Africa, discourse analysis, railways, fibre-optic cables, power-geometry

Suggested Citation

Graham, Mark and Andersen, Casper and Mann, Laura, Geographical Imagination and Technological Connectivity in East Africa (October 28, 2014). Graham, M., Andersen, C., and Mann, L. 2015 Geographies of Connectivity in East Africa: Trains, Telecommunications, and Technological Teleologies. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 40(3) 334-349. . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2515732

Mark Graham (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.geospace.co.uk

Casper Andersen

Independent

No Address Available

Laura Mann

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of International Development ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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