New Criticals

We also live in a moment when it is very difficult to note where the divide between online and offline is and how it manifests.  In a global  “environment where a comfortable online/offline dichotomy becomes increasingly difficult to maintain” (Shephard, 2013), a concrete binarization of the affective and the material has also become hard to locate. Can the material be located in financial transactions? How might we articulate digital materiality as relevant to subaltern populations in such a setting? Can we any longer directly equate “digital” divide with “material” divides when the digital becomes more accessible than structural shifts for the material well-being of the poor? We hear about how cement workers in the global South wield smart phones and how slum dweller get facebook accounts, connecting with each other and to the outside for leisure and upward mobility (Arora and Rangaswamy, 2015). Does this narrative of digital access necessarily lead to material mobility?