Perpetual Contact: Mobile Communication, Private Talk, Public Performance

Perpetual Contact: Mobile Communication, Private Talk, Public Performance

Perpetual Contact: Mobile Communication, Private Talk, Public Performance

Perpetual Contact: Mobile Communication, Private Talk, Public Performance

Synopsis

Mobile phones affect every aspect of our personal and professional lives. They have transformed social practices and changed the way we do business, yet surprisingly little serious academic work has been done on them. This book studies the impact of the mobile phone on contemporary society from a social scientific perspective. Providing a comprehensive overview of mobile phones and social interaction, it comprises an introduction covering the key issues, a series of unique national studies and a final section examining specific issues.

Excerpt

Compared with any other nation, the number of mobile phones per head of population in Finland is the highest in the world. The population of Finland numbers nearly 5 million and, at the close of 1999, there were 3.2 million mobile phones in use in the country. At the end of 1999, there were 2.35 million households in Finland and 78% of them owned a mobile phone. Furthermore, the number of mobile phones in use is still increasing rapidly. The number of mobiles per household has nearly doubled since 1996. Between 1998 and 1999, the number of mobile phone owners rose by 60,000 every month, and the trend seems to be the same in 2000. It is hardly surprising that Finnish communication scholars, sociologists and psychologists have taken special interest in how the mobile phone affects everyday Finnish life.

The rate of mobile phone penetration in Finland points to a puzzle first articulated by Roos (1994): why do Finns, “silent in two languages, ” have the highest density of mobiles in the world? This mystery has led academics in two directions. First, studies such as those by Nurmela (1997, 1998; Nurmela et al., 2000) examine the quantitative dimensions of the mobile phone culture. These studies demonstrate, for instance, the extent to which mobiles are used in Finnish households. Second, studies by Roos (1993, 1994), Kopomaa (2000) and Mäenpää (2000) examine the qualitative aspects of mobile phone culture. These studies suggest how deeply the mobile phone affects Finnish cultural and social patterns.

The dramatic changes represented by the penetration rates of the mobile phone suggest that the manner in which Finns interpret and understand their everyday interactions and interpersonal relations is also changing. In the following sections, I shall consider how Finnish culture is changing in this era of mobile telephony. In particular, I will explore and challenge assumptions about mobile communication culture as it is emerging in Finland.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.