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Another review of Castells et al (2006) Mobile Communication and Society

March 28, 2009

Not long ago I linked up on this blog to Heather Horst’s helpful review of Castells et al’s (2006) book Mobile Communication and Society. I’ve just come across another review of the same book, this time by Greg Downey (2008) for the journal Technology and Culture.  The following passage caught my eye, probably because I’m working right now on personal media (mobile phones, iPods, email, laptops, etc.) and their entanglements with personal (=egocentric) networks and social fields:

The greatest limitation of the book, surprisingly, is its cursory engagement with the complex “network society” theoretical framework which has been painstakingly constructed (and contested) over the last two decades by Castells. The authors claim that what they call the “mobile communication society” simply “deepens and diffuses the network society,” and that, as a result, “wireless communication technology does have powerful social effects by generalizing and furthering the networking logic that defines human experience in our time” (p. 258). But this “networking logic” is not necessarily part of the analytic framework of the many academic articles, media reports, state-gathered statistics, and corporate claims that they review in their book. For all of their transformative power, these experiences of mobile telephony don’t seem to have contributed back to the original theoretical framework

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