chapter  1
8 Pages

Studying the Mobile: Locating the Field


The iPhone represents a distinctive moment, both in the very short history of mobile media and in the much longer history of cultural technologies. Like the Walkman three decades earlier,3 it marks a historical conjuncture in which notions about identity, individualism, lifestyle, and sociality-and their relationship to technology and media practice-require rearticulation. Studying Mobile Media explores not only the iPhone’s particular characteristics, uses, and “aff ects,” but also how the iPhone “moment” functions

as a barometer for broader patterns of change, as well as the debates and controversies associated with them. By considering the iPhone “moment,” Studying Mobile Media considers the number of convergent trajectories in the evolution of digital and mobile culture, and their implications for future scholarship. Through the lens of the iPhone-as a symbol, culture, and set of material practices around contemporary convergent mobile media, as well as a particular form of proprietary platform-the chapters included in this book explore some of the most productive available theoretical and methodological approaches for grasping media practice, consumer culture, and networked communication in the twenty-fi rst century.