Kjerstin Gruys and David J. Hutson
This chapter uses a comparative case method, drawing on autoethnographic accounts to explore how ethnographers perform aesthetic labor across two research sites: a women’s plus-size clothing store and a coed retail gym. The authors find that they engaged in aesthetic labor as they adapted to the aesthetic expectations of sites by either blending in or sticking out. In their studies, the successful accomplishment of aesthetic labor relied primarily on gender and body size, highlighting how the body functions as a status characteristic that influences existing power dynamics. Such insights suggest the need to conceptualize ethnographic research through the lens of labor—a lens that makes clearer how academic work is structured by the same intersectional inequalities prevalent in most occupational fields.
Michel Walrave, Joris Van Ouytsel, and Koen Ponnet
Both adolescents and adults use mobile applications to engage in conversations, expand their social networks, and, for some, engage in romantic relationships. While mobile applications offer a range of opportunities for maintaining and expanding one’s social circle, some users are confronted with forms of aggression. This chapter reviews the scientific knowledge on two forms of aggressive behavior through mobile technology within interpersonal relationships: cyberbullying and cyber dating abuse. First, the chapter focuses on cyberbullying, defined as intentional acts through digital media to hurt, socially isolate, or cause distress to a victim, which may occur repeatedly or result in repeated harm by continued exposure. The different types, prevalence, as well as predictors and consequences of cyberbullying are analyzed. Second, the authors review research on what stimulates bystanders to help a victim or, on the contrary, join in cyberbullying. Forms of aggression through digital media may occur not only among friends or peers but also within romantic relationships. The third part of the chapter is therefore devoted to the types, motives, and consequences of cyber dating abuse: digital behaviors that occur to control, stalk, harass, or abuse one’s dating partner. Next to emotional forms of abuse (such as threatening or insulting one’s partner), some forms of cyber abuse are sexual (such as pressuring a partner to engage in sexting). To offer a deeper understanding of these digital forms of dating abuse, the contextual and relational factors of the behavior are discussed.
Larissa Hjorth and Ingrid Richardson
In this chapter the authors conceptualize the shifts in mobile gaming through two key rubrics—ambient play and digital wayfaring—that help to coalesce the multiple forms of domestic, casual, and urban play that constitute mobile gaming. In the first two sections the authors provide a definition of these two terms and then a short history of mobile casual gaming in terms of the mobilization of private space. This is followed by a discussion of pervasive games as vehicles for transforming urban environments into playspaces. The authors finish with a brief discussion of the Pokémon Go phenomenon in terms of what constitutes mobile gaming today.
Jennifer A. Jordan
This chapter addresses some of the central themes in the inquiry into food, taste, and consumption. Specifically, it focuses on how researchers have investigated the causes and consequences of tastes in food, including structural position and identity, and consequences for bodies, and for social and physical landscapes. It is also essential for scholars of food and taste to take seriously the role of pleasure, as well as the effects of food consumption on broader social and physical ecologies. Tastes shape landscapes, affecting carbon production and biodiversity, groundwater and air quality. Researchers cannot study food tastes as somehow disembodied, and the best work in this area today attends to this nexus of pleasure and risk, symbolism and materiality. In addition, researchers in this arena need to be highly attuned to avoiding the centering of their own tastes as markers of good taste.
This chapter treats gossip and reputation from an anthropological perspective, starting with the evolutionary origin of gossiping behavior and extending through the social and evolutionary functions of personal reputations in small-scale societies. The chapter points to an actual case history of a bizarre murder in an anthropology department, in which Persian burial rituals were replicated, and it provides an example of the use of gossip as a tool in anthropological field work, which is based on the author’s experience among tribal Serbs in Montenegro. The inherent “leakiness” of gossip systems is modeled, and the analysis of how private information becomes public suggests that often such exposure is a function of gossip chains rather than the result of deliberate betrayal of confidences. Also treated is the persistence of gossiping and reputation-mongering in modern literate society, including gossip columns, soap operas, and tabloids.
Among the various methodological approaches to gossip, ethnography stands out as the most naturalistic and contextual. From an ethnographic perspective, gossip must be defined from the ground up, an approach that is attentive to local conceptualizations and to cross-social variability, but also one that opens a Pandora’s box of caveats regarding the possibility of arriving at a cross-cultural definition of gossip. Early debates among anthropologists pitched an understanding of gossip as a solidarity-enhancing mechanism against an approach that saw gossip as a tool for individual advancement. Other approaches have focused on its aesthetic aspects, its uses in negotiating between overlapping moral systems, and its role in variously exacerbating structures of political oppression or resisting them. The relationship between gossip and reputation, the way in which gossip articulates with larger systems of information flows, and the link between gossip and emotions remain underexplored areas in ethnographic approaches to gossip.
Rich Ling, Leopoldina Fortunati, Gerard Goggin, Sun Sun Lim, and Yuling Li
The diffusion and appropriation of the mobile phone, and later the smartphone, have shaped and altered society in a variety of ways. The transition to the 3G and then the 4G networks has enabled the smartphone and thereby a wide variety of functions, services, and platforms that are used throughout society. These have had wide-ranging consequences. This volume presents the work of more than 70 authors writing more than 40 chapters that describe the different dimensions of mobile communication. The chapters range from theoretical and methodological perspectives associated with mobile communication to the integration of mobile communication in a variety of social and institutional spheres. Chapters examine the visual, linguistic, locative, and sociopolitical dimensions of the domain as well as the role of apps. Finally, there are chapters that describe the challenges associated with mobile communication, its use across cultures, and future consequences. In sum, the handbook gives the reader an overview of mobile communication and the smartphone as we move into the era of 5G mobile telephony and the new world that this can portend.
The ideas of learning with mobiles in their current forms date back to roughly the turn of the century. Since then, there has been considerable change, not only in the technologies being developed and deployed and the education being delivered and supported but more importantly in the societies in which the technologies and education are embedded. The chapter describes learning with mobiles and mobile learning as two paradigms in the understanding of mobiles and learning. The notion of paradigms allows the authors to draw in not only the underlying axioms but also the chronological development, the geographical distribution, the evolving research agenda, the external environment, the practical and practitioner impact, and the emerging fractures and discrepancies at the periphery of each paradigm. One paradigm, the established one, was essentially a project situated among academics, universities, and countries in a handful of mobile learning “hotspots” in parts of the world’s developed regions, a project intended to enhance and extend institutional e-learning, to deliver on the promise of learning “anywhere, anytime,” and perhaps to develop and deliver learning “just-in-time, just-for-me.” This dates back to the turn of the century and is the established “mobile learning” paradigm. The other paradigm, the emergent one, more recent and less coherent, is driven by the ways in which increasingly pervasive, ubiquitous personal mobile technologies are transforming the ways in which people and communities everywhere generate, discuss, transform, discard, and store ideas, opinions, identities, images, and information and, in effect, become each other’s teachers.
Jessi Streib, SaunJuhi Verma, Whitney Welsh, and Linda M. Burton
This article examines the culture of poverty thesis, focusing on its many lives, deaths, and reincarnations. It first considers the intellectual history of the culture of poverty thesis before discussing how the argument has been interspersed throughout U.S. history and applied to various groups. It then considers the argument’s scholarly reproduction, noting how it is underlain by a binary whereby segments of the poor, racial minorities, and immigrants are positioned as having a deviant, morally suspect culture that undermines their potential upward mobility, whereas white middle- and upper-class Americans are positioned as having a normal, morally upstanding culture that secures their class position. The article also describes four routine scholarly practices that engender a specter of support for the culture of poverty thesis. Finally, it argues that the culture of poverty should either be put to rest or allowed to live based on its own merits, and suggests ways to end its unintentional resurrection.
Juan Miguel Aguado and Inmaculada J. Martínez
In the early development of the smartphone ecosystem, Mobile Instant Messaging applications were to play a complementary role to that of the Short Message Service. The evolution of mobile platforms, however, has pushed them far beyond the limits of individual single-message functionalities. Thanks to their unprecedented adoption, chat apps have contributed to changing the fabric of everyday mobile-mediated interactions. They also play a crucial role in the expansion strategy of social media–related mobile ecosystem players. The functional evolution of chat apps and their social adoption is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon, with communicational, symbolic, economic, and social-structural implications. On the basis of the limited research literature and reports on chat apps in the mobile communication environment, this chapter examines the recent evolution of mobile messaging apps in a fivefold dimension that marks out different but complementary research fields: (1) the affordances derived from their growing functional complexity, (2) the impact of this functional diversification in mobile-mediated social interaction dynamics, (3) the increasing interest of chat apps as a flow for media and marketing communications, (4) their growing importance in the mobile platform ecosystem, and (5) the critical approach to mobile instant messaging as a new form of affect-based free labor.
This chapter surveys the multiple ways in which mobile media art has been defined by outlining some of the ways in which the field has been defined as it moves from media arts and hybrid reality to a more holistic contemporary art practice. It is then considered how mobile art is heralding ways in which to rethink the relationship between the quotidian, the social, and the politics of data. Finally, the chapter reflects on movements by artists (such as Cindy Sherman) to social mobile media as a site for critique and questioning of contemporary culture and everyday life.
Mobile information technologies within organizations shape the way work is conducted. Equally, working practices and organizational arrangements shape the specific technological configurations. Whereas much of the research into mobile communication emphasizes peer-to-peer voice and message communication, the organizational use of mobile communications has for much longer engaged in more complex configurations of mobile technologies. As such, the organizational experiences precede the widespread consumer use of a diversity of smartphone and tablet apps. This chapter explores, based on a review of the related literature, the broader role of mobile communications where peer-to-peer mobile voice and message connectivity is only one aspect among several. The chapter discusses in detail and exemplifies through cases the impact of mobile communication on interactional barriers, the degree of individual discretion and centralized control, and the possibilities to exercise algorithmic agency. Portfolios of data services shape the possibility for redesigned and complex collaborative patterns.
Di Cui and Xueqing Li
This chapter examines the use of mobile messaging apps in relationship management. To contextualize the discussion, the authors focus on WeChat, a dominant mobile messaging service in China that has over 1 billion monthly active users, as a case to examine the mutual shaping between technological affordances and social contexts. This chapter first introduces the case of WeChat and discusses its main affordances related to mobile messaging. The chapter then presents a discussion of the use of WeChat messaging in relationship management and users’ sociocultural construction of technology. This chapter aims to present a mutual shaping process between the affordances of mobile messaging apps and users’ relational practices.
Rich Ling and Yuling Li
In this chapter, we examine the growth of everyday mobile-based photography. In particular, we examine nonprofessional photography in day-to-day life. We start by discussing the elements that came together to form this type of mediation, and then look at the different social formations that have developed. These include the spread of increasingly mundane expressive photos and the dramatic growth of instrumental photos. We examine people’s use of selfies, and the idea of “ad hoc curation” as a way of introducing photos into the flux of everyday social interaction. We also discuss eventual issues that are introduced by our increased access to photography such as the perpetual need to pose for the camera, the deceitful use of images, and changes in the etiquette of being photographed.
Peter Vorderer and Christoph Klimmt
Since the turn of the century—and that means, in an extremely short period of time—a new and dominant behavioral pattern has emerged in technology-saturated countries and cultures: the almost constant use of mobile electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops in a great diversity of different situations. This chapter discusses the role that the proliferation and use of mobile and particularly of smartphones has had on the development of a particular mindset. This mindset is described as one of almost permanent psychological vigilance, and it impacts human cognition, affect, and behavior in significant ways. The authors describe consequences on the individual, collective, and societal levels.
Scott W. Campbell, Edwin (Wenhuan) Wang, and Joseph B. Bayer
This chapter identifies old and new paradigms for how people engage with mobile media and their implications for the self. The first involves talking to distant others, which can divide the self when done around co-present others in public settings. The next paradigm marks a shift from voice conversations to messaging, which can be more easily weaved into the flows of daily life moments and movements. The authors revisit how over time this leads to routinization, to the extent that the technology becomes a deeply embedded part of the self. Finally, the authors identify a paradigm presently gaining momentum with mobile conversational agents (e.g., Siri and Google Assistant), which heralds a return to talking. With this mode of engagement, the technology shifts away from the self to become the “other” as users interact with and not just through it.
In this chapter, I argue that the Durkheimian theory of the sacred is a crucial yet not fully recognized resource for cognitive sociology. It contains not only a theory of culture (which is acknowledged in contemporary sociology), but also a vision of culture-cognition relations. Thus, Durkheimian cultural sociology allows us to understand the crucial role the sacred/profane opposition plays in structuring culture, perception and thought. Based on a number of theories, I also show how another opposition—between the pure and impure modes of the sacred, allows us to explain dynamic features of the sacred and eventually provides a basic model of social change. While explicating this vision and resultant opportunities for sociological analysis I also criticize “cognition apart from culture” approaches established within cognitive sociology. I argue, thus, that culture not only participates in cognition but is an intrinsic ingredient of the human mind. Culture is not a chaotic and fragmented set of elements, as some sociologists imply to a greater or lesser degree, but a system; and as such it is an inner environment for human thought and social action. This system, however, is governed not by formal logic, as some critics of the autonomy of culture presuppose, but by concrete configurations of emotionally-charged categories, created and re-created in social interactions.
Mobile communication entails multiple and multimedia ways of representing the self: of depicting, performing, and making oneself present, to ourselves and to our significant ones, as well as to different connected audiences. This chapter explores how these complex choreographic performances of presentation–representation–embodiment, are the effect of a shared agency between people and mobile media, involving intentions, desires, habits, collective norms and expectations, written and non-written rules, as well as the affordances and constraints of the different digital infrastructures, from mobile devices to apps and platforms, with their commercial and technical requirements. Special attention is given to the choreographic aspect of these performances, for instance, how gender and race are performed in mobile-mediated forms of self-(re)presentation, with aesthetic and ethical implications. These choreographies are forms of current digital labor, where the production of images and visibilities prevails, in mobile practices such as the taking and sharing of selfies and the uses and practices around mobile apps.
Mariek Vanden Abeele
Recent empirical work suggests that phubbing, a term used to describe the practice of snubbing someone with a phone during a face-to-face social interaction, harms the quality of social relationships. Based on a comprehensive literature review, this chapter presents a framework that integrates three concurrent mechanisms that explain the relational impact of phubbing: expectancy violations, ostracism, and attentional conflict. Based on this framework, theoretically grounded propositions are formulated that may serve as guidelines for future research on these mechanisms, the conditions under which they operate, and a number of potential issues that need to be considered to further validate and extend the framework.
Naomi S. Baron
Mobile phones have increasingly been transformed from speaking technologies to devices for reading and writing. Cost helped drive this shift since written short messages were historically less expensive than voice calls. A second factor was communication preference for texting over talking, especially among younger users. With ready Internet access on smartphones, reading habits began shifting as well. Social networking messages, along with other short texts such as weather reports or news headlines, made for obvious reading material, as did the plethora of longer written documents available online. The e-book revolution enabled readers to retrieve entire books on their phones. Mobile phones are also writing platforms. Developments in hardware and software dramatically simplified the input process. Instead of multi-taps, users now rely on virtual keyboards for easy access not only to alphanumeric characters and punctuation marks but also to sophisticated predictive texting and autocorrection. Interestingly, while technically we are writing when inputting text on smartphones, many users do not perceive such input as real “writing”—a term they reserve for writing by hand or with a computer. Additional writing issues include norms regarding so-called textisms, along with the role of culture in shaping attitudes regarding linguistic correctness. Many organizations are discontinuing voicemail systems in favor of written messaging. At the same time, voice over Internet protocols continue to grow, and small voice-activated social robots designed for home use are proliferating. The chapter closes by asking what the spoken–written balance on smartphones might look like in the future.