In Kenya, the terms dotcom and digital have become popular descriptors for particular periods of change, as well as for modes of being. The two terms’ usage extends beyond reference to the age of the Internet or to encounters with new technologies. Rather, the dotcom and the digital—in different ways and in different decades—enable Kenyans to imagine with and through time. Using extensive ethnographic research and reflecting on pop music, TV advertising, and streetscapes, we explore how, for many Kenyans the dotcom and the digital are tools for making sense of the times in which they live. Drawing on the work of Paul Ricoeur, we tease apart what it means to be dotcom and digital in Kenya, exploring how experiences of time are also projects of self-making and critical intervention.
The Dotcom and the Digital: Time and Imagination in Kenya
Henrietta L. Moore, DBE, is director of the Institute for Global Prosperity and chair in culture, philosophy, and design at UCL. A leading thinker on prosperity, her interdisciplinary work examines innovation, aspiration, sustainability, and what global flourishing might look like.
Constance Smith is a UK Research and Innovation Future Leader Fellow in social anthropology at the University of Manchester. Focusing on the anthropology of time and urban change, her work examines how landscapes and infrastructures inflect ways of engaging with the past and anticipating the future.
Henrietta L. Moore, Constance Smith; The Dotcom and the Digital: Time and Imagination in Kenya. Public Culture 1 September 2020; 32 (3 (92)): 513–538. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-8358698
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