Born Free? A focus on mobile phones, identity and the local landscape

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This research contributes to a better knowledge of the use of mobile phones and (social) media, and how this influences the livelihoods of the born frees living in the small-town Alice (Eastern Cape, South Africa). The main research question is: “How does the use of mobile phones and accessibility to (social) media influence the born frees in the way they value their local landscape and shape their identity?” In order to give an answer to this question, 300 surveys were distributed among the born frees. Next to this, eight interviews and the use of different qualitative methods, such as small talk and (participant) observation were used to try to understand the identity of the born frees and the way they value the local landscape of Alice. It can be concluded that both mobile phones and (social) media have an influence on the way the born frees shape their identity and value the local landscape of Alice. Moreover, the mobile phone and (social) media give the born frees the opportunity to escape their local landscape, physical or virtual, by the increased access to information. However, this does mean that the born frees are actually ‘free’.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen