Slovene Suplement, Vol. 14 - 2007, Suplement
The article argues for the greater emphasis on materiality and prosthetic nature of the mobile phone and for overcoming the divide between materiality and sociality in research on media technologies and on consumer or material culture in general. In order to understand the impact of “mobile turn” on the structure of feeling and on power relations in contemporary capitalism, the mobile phone’s undiscoursive materiality should be explored. The author therefore argues for a move away from treatment of the mobile phone as the metaphoric representation of social relations (of class divisions, of cultural differentiation, of generational differences…) towards the investigation of its thingness and its performative role in framing contemporary sociality which is increasingly objects-centered.
The article presents a cultural-historical study of telephone uses in Slovenia in the twentieth century. Telephone is considered a cultural product, a social institution, and a technical apparatus. The article discusses broad consequences of the development of telephone, social context of the expansion of this communication technology, and different roles telephone had in the development from the first wire-line prototypes to the massive use of mobile phone. By presenting life-stories and recollections of phone uses in Slovenia, the author seeks to analyse the “telephone culture.” She discusses the importance of telephone for the every-day life of people after the telephones have “invaded” private houses and individuals’ intimate worlds and thus re-defined the relationship between private and public communication, which echoed in the transformation of every-day habits, patterns of social interaction and sociability, and reorganisation of the society at large.
The article discusses implications of mobile phoning for the changes of the public space. Through the optics of critique of consumer society, advertising practices and interests of economic and political lobbies it discusses private uses of mobile phones as a practice of changing the public space: first, by the intrusion of “nomadic intimacy,” and, second, with practices of the captured public or the alienated audience. Mobile practicing of privacy and intimacy in the public brings forth a situation when the individual finds herself in a less intensive relation to the public space and the activities happening therein or, to say it differently, she practices intimate relations in the public via the mobile phone. The intrusion of mobile unrelated discourses into the public as a process of colonization of the public sphere produces the erosion of activities in the public space where observers of mobile communication are dragged into intimate relationships. According to the second interpretation mobile phoning amplifies subjectivisation and individualization of the public space when this is no longer a space of joint venture, but becomes a fragmented system of individualized communications of the captured public which, although present in the public space, is directed outside of it. The third kind of change of the public space is theorized in the article as the theatrical renewal of the public space. This is analysed taking into consideration practices of new social movements as »nomadic public«.
The use of mobile phone is, so to say, an inevitable social phenomenon incorporated into the everyday life of human race in the transition from the twentieth to twenty-first century. This article aims to reveal how the mobile phones’ users perceive their appurtenance to global context of the “mobile reality”, how this kind of technology determines or structures the organisation of people’s everyday life, and what is the attitude of mobile phones’ users towards their personal uses of mobile phone. To examine the above-mentioned fields, we have to understand the social uses as cultural practices which use the ideologies of consumption and utopian dreams to produce the “technologised mobile identities” and new forms of communication. Anthropology offers an epistemological apparatus which can be used, on the micro level, to shed some light upon some aspects of this global process which we are facing today. This article presents an ethnographic case study of the uses of mobile phone in Slovenia.
The article discusses mobile phones in the context of power relations and surveillance in one’s everyday-life experiences. Special interest is directed toward individuals’ experiences of structural inequalities and relations of communication control in the light of blurring of the public/private division through extensive use of mobile phones. Based on ethnographic research and semi-structured interviews with service workers in Slovenia, it is argued that private lives of non-material labour force are increasingly subject to interpersonal surveillance determined by power relations in neo-liberal/post-welfare state capitalism, which forces individuals to exercise particular oppositional strategies directed against their constant communicative availability to authorities. In this perspective, interpersonal communication can be plausibly seen as a threat to individuals’ privacy and personal freedoms.
This paper aims to investigate the role of new technologies in the modern consumption culture by focusing on the relation between mobile phone and contemporary consumption practices that are formed around aesthetics of temporality and hinge on the existence of a ceaseless desire for the new. The paper suggests that in the contemporary culture mobile phones are not only consumption objects, used for marking and constructing social and status distinctions, but through their perpetual presence in the everyday life are also inherently embedded in consumption practices that are oriented toward emotional, aesthetic and hedonistic experiences. Under such conditions the consumption of mobile phones is not only determined by their material qualities, related to the sense of new as fresh and/or innovative, but is primarily fostered by the purely experiential sense of new as novel or unfamiliar. With the help of a recent empirical study on social aspects of mobile telephony in Slovenia the paper explores the implications that these forms of the “newness” have on mobile phone related consumption culture. Although three different groups of mobile phone consumers were identified by cluster analysis approach, whose consumption motivations lie in three different dimensions of the new, the findings suggest that freshness, innovation, and novelty do not shape their consumption style as separated but rather as mutually interwoven categories.