Jan Chipchase, ethnographer in the field, in the paper

Janchipchase Jan Chipchase is one of our heroes.  He must be  the hardest working man in anthropology, traveling almost constantly on behalf of Nokia, doing more fieldwork in a quarter than most anthropologist manage in a year. 

His beat?  Global culture, including Tupelo, Shanghai, Sao Paulo, Mumbai, Accra, and Tokyo, where he lives in those brief moments when not on the road. 

Jan is now up for his 15 minutes with coverage in  the New York Times Magazine this weekend. 

Two quotes captured my attention:

the cellphone is becoming the one fixed piece of our identity. 

According to statistics from the market database Wireless Intelligence, it took about 20 years for the first billion mobile phones to sell worldwide. The second billion sold in four years, and the third billion sold in two. Eighty percent of the world’s population now lives within range of a cellular network.

New markets, new applications.  In Africa, people are using phone credits as a medium of exchange and S.M.S. to encourage people to take up arms. Everywhere the cell phone has supplanted watches, alarm clocks, camera, video cameras, home stereos, televisions, computers and now banks. 

I not sure what Chipchase thinks, but I am beginning to think this cell phone thing could really catch on. 


Corbett, Sara.  2008.  Can the Cellphone Help End Global Poverty?  New York Times.  April 13, 2008.  here


Naunihal Singh for the head’s up.

2 thoughts on “Jan Chipchase, ethnographer in the field, in the paper

  1. Pingback: Convergence Culture Consortium (C3@MIT)

  2. Howard Sterling

    Need to get in touch with Jim Chipchase. Do you know? Have most innovative product in consumer electronics: gives the cell phone a surround-sound singing voice.

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