Mobile Secrets: Youth, Intimacy, and the Politics of Pretense in Mozambique
Julie Soleil Archambault
Chicago University Press, 2017
Now part and parcel of everyday life almost everywhere including across much of Africa, mobile phones have radically transformed how we acquire and exchange information. By engaging with young adults in a Mozambique suburb, Mobile Secrets examines how, in their efforts to create fulfilling lives, young men and women rely on mobile communication not only to mitigate everyday uncertainty but also to juggle the demands of intimacy by courting, producing, and sustaining uncertainty. In their hands, the phone has become a necessary tool in a wider arsenal of pretense—a means of creating the open-endedness on which harmonious social relations depend in postwar postsocialist Mozambique. As Mobile Secrets shows, Mozambicans have harnessed the technology not only to acquire information but also to subvert regimes of truth and preserve public secrets, allowing everyone to feign ignorance about the workings of the postwar intimate economy.