Mobile Communication and Society: A Global Perspective

Manuel Castells, Mireia Fernandez-Ardevol, Jack Linchuan Qiu, Araba Sey

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Wireless networks are the fastest growing communications technology in history. Are mobile phones expressions of identity, fashionable gadgets, tools for life--or all of the above? Mobile Communication and Society looks at how the possibility of multimodal communication from anywhere to anywhere at any time affects everyday life at home, at work, and at school, and raises broader concerns about politics and culture both global and local.

Drawing on data gathered from around the world, the authors explore who has access to wireless technology, and why, and analyze the patterns of social differentiation seen in unequal access. They explore the social effects of wireless communication--what it means for family life, for example, when everyone is constantly in touch, or for the idea of an office when workers can work anywhere. Is the technological ability to multitask further compressing time in our already hurried existence?

The authors consider the rise of a mobile youth culture based on peer-to-peer networks, with its own language of texting, and its own values. They examine the phenomenon of flash mobs, and the possible political implications. And they look at the relationship between communication and development and the possibility that developing countries could "leapfrog" directly to wireless and satellite technology. This sweeping book--moving easily in its analysis from the United States to China, from Europe to Latin America and Africa--answers the key questions about our transformation into a mobile network society.

 

Table of Contents

 List of Figures vii
 
 List of Tables ix
 
 Acknowledgments xi
 
 Opening: Our Networks, Our Lives
 
1. The Diffusion of Wireless Communication in the World 7
 
2. The Social Differentiation of Wireless Communication Users:
Age, Gender, Ethnicity, and Socioeconomic Status 39
 
3. Communication and Mobility in Everyday Life 77
 
4. The Mobile Youth Culture 127
 
5. The Space of Flows, Timeless Time, and Mobile Networks 171
 
6. The Language of Wireless Communication 179
 
7. The Mobile Civil Society:
Social Movements, Political Power, and Communication Networks 185
 
8. Wireless Communication and Global Development: New Issues, New Strategies 215
 
 Conclusion: The Mobile Network Society 245
 
 Notes 259
 
 References 273
 
 Index
 
 Appendices