A Moroccon Generational Shift: The Impact of Mobile Phones on Women's Social Networks

Presenter: Liosliath Manner Middle East Studies

Advisor: Prof. John Casterline, Sociology

This research will explore the impact of the mobile phone on the social networks of women in a rural area of Southeast Morocco. The project fieldwork will yield a description of the women's networks, and more importantly an assessment of how mobile phones are transforming these networks. I will examine the impact of mobile phones via a systematic study of female social networks, using a relation-based strategy. In order to collect the required data, I will conduct semi-structured interviews and make use of simple observation techniques. These one-on-one interviews will be recorded, but I will also be entering data into a spreadsheet and taking notes on each session. My objectives are to describe the variation in mobile phone ownership and use among women in the selected locality in Morocco, to describe the social networks of these Moroccan women, and to assess the impact of mobile phones on the women's social networks on the basis of the women's own direct assessment and my inference from interpretive analysis of qualitative interviews. The anticipated conclusion is that the networks have been expanded and strengthened, but in what ways and to what degree remains to be seen. My hypothesis is based on prior research done on Moroccan social networks (Ennaji) and the effect of cell phones on cultural behavior (Fischer).

I have been overseas conducting my field research, and returned on April 16th. I began collecting data on April 7, after obtaining permissions from the local authorities.