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Title: Connecting people : mobile phone use in social, intimate and identity relations
Author: Elderfield, Alison C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2751 0449
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis explores the social and cultural integration of the mobile phone in the lives and relationships of a sample of consumer-targeted and predominantly middle-class graduate mobile phone users aged between 17 and 27. Drawing on qualitative and ethnographic fieldwork that took place in a mobile phone retail outlet over a year, the thesis examines how mobile phone use becomes integrated into social, intimate and identity relations in everyday life. Using a progressive amendment approach to research design, ethnographic methods were adopted involving participant observation in a commercial environment - including interviews, diarying, and group interviews - to gather rich data through rapport and relationship building. The data was analysed and examined with reference to empirical research studies of mobile phone use in the UK concentrating on friendship groups, intimacy and consumption together with reference to mobility, the information society, the network society and identity. Illustrating that use of the mobile phone provides a visibility of relations together with a powerful reshaping of relations and cultural practices in the liquid connectivity of interaction. Additionally, mobile phone use has established paradoxes of interaction in everyday life. Key findings and points of discussion include co-present use strengthening ties while forming exclusive bonds and heightening insecurities over disconnection compulsion for contact virtual and continuous contact yet non-committal interaction blurring of public and private spheres through de-privatising in public while privatising booths of public space and reshaping social conduct and etiquette making and breaking of intimacy through multi-modal uses which change etiquette and the culture of communication the creation of monitored body data for togetherness and as a digital leash while heightening insecurities, suspicion and accountability gendered use of the mobile phone in communication and identity exclusivity yet not individualism or exclusion and integration into existing lifestyle while aspiring towards another more attractive and distinct lifestyle.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available