Mobile Communities and the "Generation that Beeps and Hums"

Mobile Communities and the "Generation that Beeps and Hums"

Marian Quigley (Monash University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2004 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-286-7.ch008
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The rapid appropriation of mobile phone technology by young people is occurring at the same time as critics are debating the so-called demise of community, purportedly as a result of our increasingly technologised and globalised society. Opposing theorists, however, argue that the notion of community is itself nebulous and that it represents an imagined ideal rather than a vanishing reality. Thus, they argue, it follows that debates about the greater authenticity of “real,” face-to-face communities over “virtual communities”—those centered on technological rather than geographical links —are based on a false premise. This chapter argues that young people today are utilizing mobile phones—sometimes in combination with the Internet—to establish and maintain social networks combining both their geographically present and absent peers. These networks are mobile, heavily reliant on technology and are comprised of a mix of “real” and “virtual” communication. They are also characterized by a sense of belonging to a group—a concept integral to the notion of community.

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