Taken for Grantedness: The Embedding of Mobile Communication into Society (MIT Press)

Taken for Grantedness: The Embedding of Mobile Communication into Society (MIT Press)

Language: English

Pages: 257

ISBN: B00ADR0Q54

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Taken for Grantedness: The Embedding of Mobile Communication into Society (MIT Press)

Language: English

Pages: 257

ISBN: B00ADR0Q54

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Why do we feel insulted or exasperated when our friends and family don't answer their mobile phones? If the Internet has allowed us to broaden our social world into a virtual friend-net, the mobile phone is an instrument of a more intimate social sphere. The mobile phone provides a taken-for-granted link to the people to whom we are closest; when we are without it, social and domestic disarray may result. In just a few years, the mobile phone has become central to the functioning of society. In this book, Rich Ling explores the process by which the mobile phone has become embedded in society, comparing it to earlier technologies that changed the character of our social interaction and, along the way, became taken for granted. Ling, drawing on research, interviews, and quantitative material, shows how the mobile phone (and the clock and the automobile before it) can be regarded as a social mediation technology, with a critical mass of users, a supporting ideology, changes in the social ecology, and a web of mutual expectations regarding use. By examining the similarities and synergies among these three technologies, Ling sheds a more general light on how technical systems become embedded in society and how they support social interaction within the closest sphere of friends and family

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cavalry was more efficient for ground-based military maneuvers than motorized forces (specifically the tank). This was clearly an absurd notion, but the strength of this ideological structure (along with a long history of mounted cavalry) was such that it was able to suppress other alternatives until long after its days were past. It was not until horses were shown to be hopelessly vulnerable to tanks that the colorful ideology of mounted cavalry was quietly dropped (Goodwin 1994, 52). This shows

mobile phone in public places was a way to show that the user was affluent and well connected. However, according to the stories, these people were pretenders who were exposed. One version describes how a person—usually a man—was loudly talking on a flashy new device in a very public place. The story continues that an accident occurred nearby and the mobile 106  Chapter 6 phone user was asked to call emergency services—whereupon it was discovered that the phone was a fake.3 Even though there

mobile phone or is it the same? Elisabeth:  There is more contact. “How are you doing” and “What did you do over the weekend?” These women describe a more-or-less continuous interaction with friends and family. Interaction is not only reserved for those times that they are copresent; rather, it continues interlaced into other activities when they are not physically together. They are able to share mundane interactions, 148  Chapter 7 about things that have more or less import. The

the mobile phone have changed the social ecology of the fish market for these communities. There are limitations to the situation. Jensen notes that the perishability of fish is a particularly important aspect of this market. The fact that refrigeration was not available meant that the fish necessarily needed to be consumed within a few hours of being caught. This aspect led to the system of dumping the fish before the introduction of the mobile phone, and it partially explains the success of

migrant” women in China (women who leave their home village to seek work in larger cities) often first get their mobile phone to maintain contact with family in their home village: For example, one woman I knew who had purchased a very basic phone to keep in touch with friends and family found that over time her mobile phone primarily served work purposes even as she continued to foot the entire monthly bill. As much as she said she valued her phone for sociality, she was the only woman with whom

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