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date: 06 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Since their introduction in 2008, software applications for mobile devices (“apps”) have become extremely popular forms of digital media. Mobile apps are designed as small bits of software for devices such as smartphones, tablet computers, smartwatches, and other wearable devices. This chapter presents a sociological analysis of apps through the lens of three major theoretical perspectives: (1) the political economy approach, (2) Foucauldian perspectives, and (3) sociomaterialism. Each perspective adopts a different focus, but all elucidate important aspects of the sociocultural and political dimensions of apps. Relevant empirical research is incorporated into the discussion to illustrate how apps are designed, developed, and promoted by a range of actors and agencies and to provide examples of the ways in which people incorporate apps into the routines of their everyday lives. The chapter ends with identifying directions for further sociological research and theorizing related to apps.

Keywords: mobile app, mobile device, digital media, digital sociology, political economy, sociomaterialism, Foucault

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