James E. Katz: An Intellectual Biography

James E. Katz: An Intellectual Biography

Yi-Fan Chen (Old Dominion University, USA & Western Connecticut State University, USA) and Katie Lever (Old Dominion University, USA & Western Connecticut State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8239-9.ch031
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Abstract

James E. Katz is an American pioneer in examining social consequences of mobile technology use in everyday life. He builds a global mobile communication research network and his work informs various mobile communication studies around the world. He explores how mobile technology's affect social interaction and what their uses reveal about human nature and organizations; Katz was among the first to demonstrate their pro-social uses. He also seeks to understand what the future holds in terms of society and communication technologies and works with others to explore ways in which society can best prepare itself to make the optimal use of new developments. This article documents Katz's research activities and his intellectual impacts on mobile communication studies.
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Introduction

James E. Katz is the Feld Professor of Emerging Media at Boston University’s College of Communication and he directs its Division of Emerging Media Studies. He joined Boston University in 2012. He is also the Director of the Boston Center for Mobile Communication Studies (prior Rutgers Center for Mobile Communication Studies), the world’s first academic unit to focus solely on social aspects of mobile communication research. The center research direction focuses on human use of mobile technologies and mobile data. The center members study at all forms of mobile communication technology, ranging from pagers and cell phones to Google Glass and gaming platforms. Members conduct state of the art investigations into how mobile communication affects human behavior as well as mobile technology’s long-term organizational and policy implications. Their studies are also wide-reaching and include the disciplines of psychology, sociology, philosophy and political science. The kinds of issues they concern themselves with encompass everything from the individual through the family to organizations and governmental bodies.

Prior to Boston University, Katz was the Board of Governors Professor of Communication, which is Rutgers’ highest faculty honor. He was the Chair of the Department of Communication at Rutgers University for two terms before moving to Boston University. Earlier, he served on the faculties of the University of Texas at Austin, George Mason University, Clarkson University, and Indiana University. He was a visiting fellow of the Center for Information Technology Policy of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy at Princeton University, the Kennedy School of Government Fellow at the Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University and the National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Policy Alternatives at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He graduated with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Sociology at Northern Illinois University. He was awarded his Doctoral degree in Political Sociology in 1974 at Rutgers where he subsequently earned a second Master’s degree in Educational Statistics, Measurement & Evaluation. In 2013, he was awarded the Doctorem Honoris Causa at Budapest University of Technology and Economics.

Katz is the author or co-author of several books in the field of mobile communication. Among his mobile communication books are Perpetual contact: Mobile communication, private talk, public performance (with Mark Aakhus) (Katz & Aakhus, 2002b), Machines that become us: The social context of personal communication technology (Katz, 2003), Magic in the Air: Mobile Communication and the Transformation of Social Life (Katz, 2006), Handbook of Mobile Communication Studies (Katz, 2008), Mobile communication: Dimensions of social policy (Katz, 2011), Technology and creativity: Social media, mobiles and museum (with Wayne LaBar and Ellen Lynch) (Katz, LaBar, & Lynch, 2011) and The social media president: Barack Obama and the politics of digital engagement (with Michael Barris and Anshul Jain) (Katz, Barris, & Jain, 2013). He also published more than 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and his works have been translated into several languages and re-published in numerous edited collections. His research interests focus on uses and social consequences of technologies, especially the Internet, mobile technologies and social media. He explores how technologies affect social interaction and what their uses reveal about human nature and organizations and was among the first to demonstrate their pro-social uses. He also seeks to understand what the future holds in terms of society and communication technologies and works with others to explore ways in which society can best prepare itself to make the optimal use of new developments.

Katz has been frequently interviewed about his research by various presses around the world, such as the Economist in UK, the New York Times, Toronto Star in Canada, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, network news programs, BBC in UK, and PBS NewsHour. His teaching and research interests include research methods, the social aspects of communication technology, and the contest between privacy and publicity on mobile technologies. He keynotes, lectures and gives presentations in various countries, including Canada, China, Denmark, France, Hungary, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United States.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social Consequences: How society and personal relationships are affected.

Mobile Technology: Technology used for cellular communication.

Emerging Media: New technologies. James E. Katz, Center For Mobile Communication Studies- Emerging media studies.

Mobile Communication: Communication that takes place through a mediated, cellular capacity.

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