Taxis, Technology, and Transmigrants: Communication Practices of Chicago's Immigrant Taxi Drivers
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In this study the notions of community and globalization were explored among immigrant taxi drivers in Chicago and the role of communication technologies in their work and personal lives. Using qualitative methods I found that this community exists by way of a combination of strong and weak ties, which are linked through communication technology and immobile places that support face-to-face communication. The cell phone was a key technology used by drivers to empower themselves with greater access to job-related information. However, their cell phone connections were relatively ethnocentric, and I argue that drivers may be missing the opportunity to develop ties with other ethnic groups and further empower themselves to influence industry structure and policy in their favor. This finding is important for social research and society because it reflects a possible pattern in human behavior towards a preference for insularity despite globalization’s push toward mobility, migration, and diversity of communities.