A Request for Papers on “Place & Mobiles”
August 24th, 2009

See the request all the way at the bottom…

‘Place & Mobiles’ collection
edited by Rowan Wilken (Melbourne)
& Gerard Goggin (New South Wales)

One of the striking aspects of globalisation is that it has led to a revival of interest in, and a renewed concern for, the concept of place. This renewal of interest in place — which parallels a recent ‘geographical turn’ in media studies — has direct implications for how we engage with mobile phones.

A key reason for this reinvigoration of the idea of place, and why it is considered an important notion, is that it represents a ‘weaving together’ of social and human-environment interactions. It is this intertwining of social and human-environment interactions that also makes place crucial to how embodied, technologically mediated mobile social practice is understood.

Yet, despite its apparent significance, and despite the fact that it enjoys wide currency and use, place nevertheless remains an elusive concept, one that is difficult to encapsulate and define with any accuracy. In addition to a lack of definitional precision, there is a wide range of approaches to conceiving of place, all of which serve to further highlight its complexity.

What is more, place is increasingly recognized as important to our understandings of mobile phone use, and the notion of place is widely referenced in the mobile phone literature, yet there is little sustained critical engagement with this concept, or adequate examination of how mobile phone use might impact on our existing conceptions and experiences of place and vice versa.

Such an undertaking is all the more important given the extension of mobile phones into media, with vibrant users cultures emerging associated with social networking, camera and video phones and sharing, mobile Internet, Bluetooth, and applications (iPhones, smartphones), and technologies explicitly tied to determining location and responding to place (GPS, location-based technologies).

This book collection seeks to respond to these issues by establishing a close, critical dialogue between place theorists and mobiles researchers. Accordingly, we invite proposals for papers that will examine the interrelationship between place and mobile media use.

Papers could address (but need not be limited to) any aspect of the following questions:

* Is place as conventionally understood — that is, as a ‘proper, stable and distinct location’ (Morse) — adequate for understanding contemporary mobile media use?
* Are conceptual revisions to our understanding of place necessary in order to capture the particular experiences of mobile media use?
* Do the shaping of mobile technology, and the particularities of mobile use, lead to altered understandings of place and place experience?
* What do different philosophical and disciplinary traditions bring to our understandings of place, especially in relation to mobile media use?
* What theoretical and methodological questions and considerations should be driving place-based mobiles research?
* What relevance (if any) does Augé’s notion of ‘non-place’ have for the way we encounter urban space via mobiles?
* How are new location-based, mapping and sensing technologies reconfiguring place and how we experience and relate to it? For instance, how does location-aware mobile gaming draw upon or change our experiences of space and place? How do GPS, mapping, geoweb, and annotation technologies and cultural practices produce new notions and instantiations of place?
* How do the relationships between place and mobiles vary across different cultures, societies, and contexts? What are the emerging international, cosmopolitan perspectives on place and mobiles? How do these help us make sense of the cross-cultural placement of mobiles?

Please send proposals of up to 500 words to both editors — Rowan Wilken (rwilken@unimelb.edu.au) and Gerard Goggin (g.goggin@unsw.edu.au) — by 1 November 2009.

About the editors:

Rowan Wilken (rwilken@unimelb.edu.au) is a lecturer in the Cinema & Cultural Studies program at the University of Melbourne. He is author of a number of essays on place and mobile media, and is presently working on a book entitled ‘Teletechnologies, Place and Community’.

Gerard Goggin (g.goggin@unsw.edu.au) is Professor of Digital Communication and deputy-director of the Journalism and Media Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney. His books include ‘Global Mobile Media’ (forthcoming, 2010) and ‘Cell Phone Culture’ (2006).


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