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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by transcript Verlag January 12, 2018

The MicroSDs of Solomon Islands An Offline Remittance Economy of Digital Multi-Media

  • Geoffrey Hobbis
From the journal Digital Culture & Society


Based on twelve months of multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork, this article investigates the offline circulation of digital media files in Solomon Islands. It explores how circular temporary labour migration drives the acquisition, movement and consumption of digital media, and how these media files contribute to moral controversies. Before the rapid proliferation of mobile phones in 2010, people living in rural environments had limited access to electronic media and the male village elite controlled access to this media, especially foreign movies. Mobile phones, on the other hand, are individually owned and encourage private consumption of media files. At the same time, migrants living in urban areas can easily obtain digital media files and have started integrating them into remittance networks. Access to electronic media in rural areas has exploded. Because foreign visual media are associated with urban, morally ambivalent lifestyles, this proliferation has also fuelled moral uncertainties among rural residents. This article suggests that to understand these moral controversies, and their significance in contemporary Solomon Islands, it is crucial to account for the mobility of digital media files offline and alongside the movements of temporary labourers.

Published Online: 2018-1-12
Published in Print: 2017-12-20

© 2018 by transcript Verlag

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