Mobile Phones Like Any Other ICT?: The Case of Greece and its Adoption of Mobile Phones from a Socio-Cultural Perspective

Mobile Phones Like Any Other ICT?: The Case of Greece and its Adoption of Mobile Phones from a Socio-Cultural Perspective

Panayiota Tsatsou (University of Leicester, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-011-2.ch006
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Abstract

This chapter explores mobile phones and how they have been received in juxtaposition with the Internet and in close association with socio-cultural contexts of life. By examining the Greek case and its particularities, the chapter provides some sense of why different Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), such as mobile phones and the Internet, might be received and adopted differently by people living in the same socio-cultural context (at the national level). In the case of Greece, statistical and historical data confirm the contrasting receptions of mobile phones and the Internet but empirical evidence is lacking to explain the exceptionally high adoption rates of mobile phones in the country. Thus, the chapter reports on original empirical evidence obtained in elite actors’ interviews and focus groups of ordinary people to explain the contrasting ways mobile phones and the Internet have been received in the country. On the basis of these empirical findings, the chapter finds that certain socio-cultural contexts, such as that of Greece, favour mobile phones more than the Internet, thus making mobile telephony a distinctive case of ICT.
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Background: Mobiles Phones And Other Icts From A Socio-Cultural Perspective

A significant number of studies has looked at the role of socio-cultural milieus in ICTs (Cathelat, 1993; Mediagruppe, 2000; Klamer et al., 2000; SevenOneMedia, 2002) and stressed their importance for explaining not only the particular shapes and aspects of ICTs but also their appropriation by users in concrete socio-cultural contexts. More specifically, the literature has attempted to examine the positive role of social values, such as values of openness, in how ICTs are used, adopted and integrated into people’s lives (Hofstede, 1980; Trompenaars, 1993; Rogers, 1995; Thomas, 1995; Thomas and Mante-Meijer, 2001; Smoreda and Thomas, 2001; Mante-Meijer, 2002). The literature has also looked at the opposite role that resistant elements of social culture and associated introversion and backwardness can play, leading to the slow and difficult development of particular technological artefacts and the limited appropriation of technology in people’s lives (Mokyr, 1990 & 1992). Media technologies and ICTs are often among the technologies (e.g. biotechnology, nuclear technology etc) which are opposed by dominant resistant cultures in particular socio-cultural contexts (Bauer, 1995).

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