Propagating the Ideal: The Mobile Communication Paradox

Propagating the Ideal: The Mobile Communication Paradox

Imar de Vries (Utrecht University, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-234-3.ch001


In this chapter, visions of mobile communication are explored by focussing on idealised concepts surrounding wireless technology. By examining sources on the development, marketing, and use of wireless technology, I contextualise these visions within earlier accounts of ideal communication found in media history and isolate the regularities that are part of these accounts. On close examination, a paradox reveals itself in these regularities, one that can be described as resulting from an uneasiness in the human communication psyche: an unfulfilled desire for divine togetherness that clashes with individual communication needs. While the exact nature of this paradox—innate and hardwired into our brains, or culturally fostered—remains unknown, however, I assert that the paradox will continue to fuel idealised ideas about future communication technology. I conclude with the observation that not all use of mobile technology can immediately be interpreted as transcendental, and that built-in locational awareness balances the mobile communication act.

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