Thursday, 9 April 2009

Book: Mobile Communication Studies, edited by James E. Katz

Before jumping into the Easter holidays: another informative book. If you are into communication, culture and mobiles, this book will be a good buy.

The Handbook of Mobile Communication Studies was released by MIT Press in 2008, it covers 485 pages and the book is edited by James E. Katz. ISBN: 9780262113120. The variety of researchers and topics make this into a worthwhile book if you are looking to get a deeper understanding of what mobile roads are being explored right now and all over the world.

Taken from the introduction: "My choice of topics has been guided by the overarching idea that mobile communication has become mainstream even while it remains a subject of fascination in usage configurations and social consequences. As such, the handbook aims at examining the way mobile communication is fitting into and altering social processes in many places around the globe and at many levels within society. In essence, then, it presents a series of analyses of how the reality of being mobile and in communication with distant information and personal resources affects daily life. Of course, with more than a third of all humans in the world operating under such conditions, it is hard to make precise claims that are at once manifestly universal and useful. Yet, as the chapters in this volume demonstrate, there are some remarkably consistent changes in personal routines and social organization as a result of literally putting mobile communication resources into the hands of people.

The contributors show how mobile communication profoundly affects the tempo, structure, and process of daily life. Topics discussed include

  • who is integrated into mobile communication networks and why.

  • how social networks are created and sustained by mobile communication.

  • how mobile communication fits into an array of communication strategies including the Internet and face-to-face.

  • the way traditional forms of social organization are circumvented or reinvented to suit the needs of the increasingly mobile user.

  • how quickly miraculous technologies become ordinary and even necessary.

  • how ordinary technology becomes mysterious, extraordinary, and even miraculous.

  • the symbolic uses of mobile communication beyond mere content.

  • the uses of mobile communication in political organizing and social protest, and in marshaling resources.

The chapters in this volume cut across vast social issues and geographic domains. They highlight both elite and mass users, utilitarian and expressive uses, and political and operational consequences. The chapters also have foci that range from individual to collective issues, and from industrialized to rapidly (or slowly) developing societies. The themes also cut across psychological, sociological, and cultural levels of analysis. At their heart, though, is an enduring theme of how mobile communication has affected the quality of life in both exotic and ordinary settings. Mobile communication is now a mainstream activity in all human activities, and is increasingly sharing if not (yet) predominating life's center stage in both intrusive and subtle ways.

The volume has four main themes, with chapters drawing out each of them. These themes are digital divides and social mobility, sociality and co-presence, politics and social change, and culture and imagination. The book concludes with a few comments by the editor and an afterword by Manuel Castells."

Yes, I am off for a couple of low-connectivity days. Happy Easter to the people that celebrate this possible holiday!