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March 6 Seminar: Genevieve Bell, Intel Distinguished Lecture Series
11:45 am-1 pm, 411 West Hall

The Social Life of Cell Phones: A Cultural Account of Information and Communication Technologies

Genevieve Bell is a Senior Researcher within Intel Research. She is responsible for a 2 year research project focused on gaining a better understanding of the daily life of Asia’s urban middle classes, paying particular attention to the role of new technologies. Bell is particularly interested in issues of cultural difference as they are expressed around technology adoption and use.

The cell phone, like many other information and communication technologies (ICTs) has rapidly proliferated around the world. However, the ways in which the cell phone has been deployed and consumed are subject to a great deal of local variation. Making sense of the different ways that cell phones are articulating with daily life provides an important perspective on the ways in which cultural patterns affect technology use.

This lecture draws on Bell’s ongoing research in Asia, and provides a vivid example of the ways in which very different insights inform Intel’s R&D process

Bell is a member of an interdisciplinary team of research social scientists and designers. Since joining Intel, Bell has conducted ethnographic research in a variety of consumer spaces, including malls, retail districts, and museums, as well as within a range of different American households. Bell has also conducted significant research beyond the US, including a five-country, strategically situated, ethnographic study of European domestic spaces for several Intel product groups, and a study of the emerging middle classes in China and India.

STIET Program
University of Michigan
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Prior to joining Intel in 1998, Bell taught anthropology and Native American Studies at Stanford University. Bell received her BA/MA in anthropology from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania in 1991. She earned a PhD in cultural anthropology from Stanford University in 1998. For more on Genevieve Bell...