Mobile Media and Social Space: How Anytime, Anyplace Connectivity Structures Everyday Life

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Mobile Media and Social Space: How Anytime, Anyplace Connectivity Structures Everyday Life


  • Mariek Vanden Abeele Department of Communication and Cognition, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
  • Ralf De Wolf Department of Communication Sciences, imec-mict, Ghent University, Belgium
  • Rich Ling Wee Kim Wee School of Communication, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore


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Abstract:  Using Giddens’ (1984) structuration theory we examine how social structures in mobile communication technologies shape the everyday life of individuals, thereby re-shaping power dynamics that underlie the social organization of society. We argue that the anytime, anyplace connectivity afforded by mobile communication technologies structures society by imposing a network, social and personal logic. We discuss how each logic both reproduces and challenges traditional power structures, at the micro- as well as macro-level. At the micro-level, the network logic refers to mobile communication technologies’ capacity to organize activities in a networked fashion, granting people greater autonomy from time and place. The social logic refers to mobile communication technologies’ capacity for perpetual contact, fostering social connectedness with social relationships. The personal logic refers to mobile communication technologies’ capacity to serve as extensions of the Self, with which people can personalize contents, services, place and time. The flipside of these logics is that, at the micro-level, the responsibility to operate autonomously, to maintain personal social networks, and to manage and act based on personal information shifts to the individual. We also notice shifts in power structures at the macro-level. For instance, to reap the benefits of mobile communication technology individuals engage in free ‘digital labor’ and tolerate new forms of surveillance and control.

Keywords:  Giddens; logics; mobile media; power; responsibilization; social structure

Published:   25 May 2018


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v6i2.1399


© Mariek Vanden Abeele, Ralf De Wolf, Rich Ling. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.