Mobile phones & social inclusion

Funny, yesterday I discussed my preliminary paper on mobile communication as gift-culture (following the well-known anthropological classic by Marcel Mauss) together with my colleague PhD students. At one point we were talking about the consequences of this gift-exchange view, whether this would mean that people not in the gift-circle (have-nots or want-nots) would be left out of the circle. I said yes, definitely. And here’s a post on textuality.org that seems to confirm this:

According to a new study, the new social outcasts are teenagers and young adults without mobile phones. The ;The Sydney Morning Herald; reports.

Mobile phones are the portals to friendships and social networks, the ultimate measure of social status and portable shrines to self-image, he says. And if no one’s calling, there’s little shame in programming your phone to ring you, checking for non-existent text messages or talking up a storm with an imaginary friend.

Katz says. “To not have a phone feels like social banishment. It really is an issue of being excluded, of being an outsider.”

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