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Title:Mobility, *Being, Global Network: A Technography of Laptops and Cellphones
Author(s):Kien, Grant
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Norman Denzin
Department / Program:Communications
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Sociology, Social Structure and Development
Abstract:Mobility refers to the movement of actors and actants in ever-shifting arrays that comprise actor-networks; movement in physical terms, but also conceptual movements such as transience in identity. Being refers to a Heideggerian state of 'pure being', moments of revelation in which the truth about meaning and how we enframe our world erupts. Network refers to the ever-mutating actor-network. Nations partition the global communications network and translate parts of it as their own, to extend themselves within and beyond their demarcated national borders, rendering mediated space nationalist territory, and implicating communications technology in ritualized performances of culture. Miniaturization and wireless connectivity enable the mobilization of such ritualized and routinized performances, allowing individuals to maintain ontological security through technological performativity, irregardless of their transience as global subjects. This dissertation elaborates this theoretical premise in greater detail, and in the tradition of ethnomethodology, illustrates it with examples from everyday experience. A modification of interpretive methods combines auto-ethnography with the actor-network theory methodology of following the actants of wireless technology through the elaboration of their messy networks, to explore technological performativity in the context of globalization. The resulting technography (applying ethnography to technological performance) is presented through vignettes that adhere to the Denzinian tropes 'show don't tell' and 'bury the theory'. Research conducted in the primary sites of Toronto, Chicago, Urbana IL, New York City, Tokyo, Seoul, and Beijing show that the effects of technology are dialectically connected with everyday performance, participating in various messy networks all at the same time. Working with a Heideggerian philosophical premise, this work situates humans as the driving force of technology, suggesting that everyday human performance, including technological performativity---not just technological appliances as isolated actants---holds hope for a more utopian world.
Issue Date:2006
Description:280 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3250268
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2006

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