Mobile phone repair in Ghana : comparing three approaches

Miao LU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Mobile phone repair is booming in the Global South, creating new players and approaches. Based on ethnographic research in Ghana’s major phone markets, this article maps the local repair ecosystem by illustrating two sets of repair actors: “company repairers” and “independent repairers.” Paying attention to their internal diversity and complex interactions, this article categorizes three types of repair practices, including the high-end approach employed by Samsung, Apple and Huawei, the mid-range approach adopted by the Chinese after-sales service provider Carlcare, and the low-end approach used by independent repairers. This article argues that Carlcare, as a rising repair actor, creates a middle ground between the elitism of big tech and the informality of local repair shops. Through its repair practice, Carlcare not only translates dysfunctional technologies into functional ones but also transforms informal laborers into professional technicians. Contextualizing Carlcare’s development in Ghana, this article discusses the tensions and implications of institutionalization.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Media and Society
Early online date17 Mar 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • Carlcare
  • China
  • Ghana
  • institutionalization
  • mobile phone
  • repair


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