Cheap Calls: The Social Glue of Migrant Transnationalism



Abstract Although globalization has usually been associated with advanced communications technology, arguably nothing has facilitated global linkage more than the boom in ordinary, cheap international telephone calls. Low-cost calls serve as a kind of social glue connecting small-scale social formations across the globe. In this article I present recent data on the rapid growth and diffusion of telephone traffic and describe the proliferation of prepaid phonecards. Second, I outline the commercial, social and geographical ramifications of this explosion in transnational communication.