Listening to Crawford and Goggin’s presentation on mobile telephony research at ANZCA 2009. Constrasts assumptions about the end of / decline of social cohesion and community because of mobile communications; and the rise or, reinforcement of community ties – this is the normative dialectic within the research field. Similar dichotomies throughout the field: isolated / connected; closed world / open world
Youth are seen as excessive in both directions – occupying ‘extreme’ polar opposities at the same time; eg mobile telelphony closes off young people from the world, and yet they are too connected!
- who is young? (because ‘youth’ is the focus)
- youth and technology are consistently aligned by commentators from 18th C onwards
- youth are a focus for particular attention because, from an adult perspective, they give a slimpse of what general social life might be like in future, when those youth become adult
- “youth as developmental narrative”: dependency to self-sufficiency through “trials of emancipation” – reviewing Ling’s work on mobiles; challenges the fixity of the ‘adult’ as ‘developed’ entity after childhood or youth
- youth is not the same category in different cultures
- youth as overly idealised state of individual freedom, read from the perspective of constrained adulthood
Some ideas from me as a partial response; amplification.
The problem is the fact that youth is not a natural category but is discursively powerful as if it were; so mobile research (and indeed other new media research) involving ‘youth’ has to traverse two different categorisations – that which is received within society and that which is constructed through/ by research against this.
Is it also the case that mobility is the underpinning locus of the moral panic – the capacity of people using mobile devices to escape from the regulation imposed upon them by spaces? of the conduct of activities approrpriate in private within public spaces and vice versa?