Article ID: CBB024782122

Has the Internet Reduced Friendship? Scientific Relationships in Ghana, Kenya, and India, 1994-2010 (May 2017)


Has the Internet changed the pattern of social relations? More specifically, have social relations undergone any systematic change during the recent widespread diffusion of new communications technology? This question is addressed using a unique longitudinal survey that bookends the entire period of Internet diffusion in two African nations and one Indian state. We analyze data on nine professional linkages reported by a population of agricultural and environmental scientists in Kenya, Ghana, and Kerala over a sixteen-year period (1994-2010). Factor analysis reveals two clusters of relationships, one interpretable as traditional scientific exchange, the other indicating mediated forms of collaboration. While collaboration increases in frequency, friendship declines. We interpret this shift as a consequence of communications technology that facilitates formal projects, reducing the affective dimension of professional association.

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Authors & Contributors
Bulpin, Kate
Felt, Ulrike
Fisher, Erik
Hamblin, Jacob Darwin
Molyneux-Hodgson, Susan
Orchiston, Wayne
Science, Technology, and Human Values
Social Studies of Science
Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology and Society
Science as Culture
Engineering Studies
Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage
Amsterdam University Press
Oxford University Press
Palgrave Macmillan
Zed Books Ltd
Science and technology studies (STS)
Scientific collaboration
Interdisciplinary approach to knowledge
Swarup, Govind
Eisenhower, Dwight David
Time Periods
21st century
20th century, late
20th century
Great Britain
European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)

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