Talk at the Philosophy of Telecommunications Convergence conference (caveat).

There are 2.5B users, and in some countries more phones than people; there are more Internet-enables phones than PCs. So there are lots of people using mobile phones, and using them in lots of ways.

Vincent's interest is in the emotional dimension of mobile phone use. She uses it do some familiar things– talk, take pictures, write to others– and this familiarity is important in the object's ubiquity. She also uses it to remember things: they take pictures of stuff in stores, posters for upcoming events, ads, etc..

On the other hand, there are differences: photos 100 years ago were memorabilia, while today's cell phone pictures are often completely disposable. The picture-taking itself can also be the point, rather than the pictures. People also use it to capture more ephemeral memories: to record things that might not have been commemorated (it's more ethnographic than ritualistic).

The research. Looking at emotional relationships or attachments to phones. Working out of the interactionist theory (following Goffman), emotion work (Hochschild on managed emotions and "moments of pinch").

  • Relationships and mobiles are integral but not always symbiotic.
  • Communications occur in the "middle stage" of interactionist theory.
  • There's an emotional paradox of wanted and unwanted communications.
  • Managing the intrusions of Back Stage– dealing with "moments of pinch."
  • Using emotion work to manage mobile phone communications.

Some "events… occur in a special or unique way when mediated by the mobile:" some users have practices that are unique: some couples talk while commuting on different systems, or use the phone to take pictures of kids because the kids react in certain ways. What they love is not the device, but what you can use it for.

[ Posted from Hungarian Academy of Sciences via plazes.com ]

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