Do you suffer from cellphone separation anxiety? (Thinkstock)
Do you suffer from cellphone separation anxiety?
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If you feel anxious when you don't have your phone nearby, you are not alone. With some 6 billion cellphones in circulation on Earth, we depend on them for a huge range of services. We text friends, share selfies, order food, get news, watch movies, access clouds, etc.

Our cellphones not only help us manage our daily lives, but also connect us to people around the world. Cellphones do it in ways, and at speeds, that didn't used to be possible. While a very personal possession, a cellphone also extends us beyond ourselves.

Cultural anthropologists are studying how cellphones both come from and lead to globalization.

The global network of supply chains for cellphones rests on the backs of miners. Many live in Bolivia, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa. The miners are key, as well as factory workers in China and Brazil. The products are sealed and concealed under the sleek glass and metal cases designed in places such as Europe, South Korea and the United States.

When you dispose of a cellphone, you throw away costly minerals. They include rare earths, tantalum and gold.

Some anthropologists are analyzing how, why and when cellphones are repaired rather than tossed out. The Smithsonian's Joshua A. Bell envisions a future of users-as-hackers. We would open up and repair our own phones.

Find out more about the study of our relationships with cellphones by joining us on Thursday, June 4, 2015, for a Smithsonian Science How live webcast titled Unseen Connections: A Natural History of the Cellphone, airing at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. EDT on the Q?rius website.

Dr. Joshua A. Bell, cultural anthropologist at the National Museum of Natural History, will appear live to discuss and answer questions. Get teaching resources to support your webcast experience.

Critical thinking challenge: How do cell phones lead to globalization beyond talking to people around the world?

Assigned 25 times


COMMENTS (27)
  • kyleighp-fel
    8/14/2015 - 02:17 p.m.

    Cellphones lead to globalization beyond talking to people around the world by allowing us to share information with others who may not have access to it because of their location.

  • callans-fel
    8/14/2015 - 02:18 p.m.

    Cell phones take globalization beyond talking by social media and texting. You can text some one from the other side of the world. you can also get the new and access the cloud.

  • calaabj-fel
    8/14/2015 - 02:19 p.m.

    cellphones lead to globalization beyond talking to people around the world by the cellphones are made from one country to the next like how they are made they go from miners in bolivia to people in china and else were! cell phone also let us talk to people and learn about there culture and we can adopt kids over the phone and we can also use our phones for language tutors from a diffrent countrty.

  • austina-fel
    8/14/2015 - 02:19 p.m.

    CTC: Cell-phones lead to globalization beyond talking to people around the world by allowing us to text friends, share selfies, order food, get news, watch our favorite movies or videos, access clouds, Ect.

  • avereyd-fel
    8/14/2015 - 02:20 p.m.

    Cell phones lead to globalization beyond talking to people around the world by letting you communicate with people other than your community,state or even the country.

  • austing-fel
    8/14/2015 - 02:20 p.m.

    Cell phones lead to globalization because they can do many other things than let you talk to other people around the world. Phones let you order things you need,search things that you need to know,and many other things.

  • mimir-fel
    8/14/2015 - 02:21 p.m.

    Cell phones lead to globalization in other ways than talking by making it possible for others to access news from around the world quicker than any news station or channel. They also can globalize by allowing quicker purchases for flight tickets, merchandise, and other memorabilia.

  • courtneyh-1-fel
    8/14/2015 - 02:23 p.m.

    Cell phones lead to globalization beyond talking to people around the world by also by letting us text,share selfies,order food,get news,and watch movies.

  • audreya-fel
    8/14/2015 - 02:24 p.m.

    How cell phones lead to globalization beyond talking to people around the world is by sharing news ,information, and other politics and last minute changes for flights around the world or every day travel.

  • donovanl-fel
    8/14/2015 - 02:25 p.m.

    Cell phones have costly minerals such as gold and tantalum in them.

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