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Selling (the idea of) mediatization: Contemporary technology discourse and the indispensability of mobile media in work/life
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication (from 2013). (Geomedia)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6309-2315
2017 (English)In: NordMedia: Mediated Realities – Global Challenges, 2017Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Hitherto, and mainly by way of ethnographic studies, mediatization research has informed us about the relevance, influence, and role of media in various spheres of social life. Less is known, however, about how mediatization is discursively constructed. The relevance of constructivist approaches to mediatization has been explicated e.g. by Krotz (2017), who calls for critical mediatization studies that consider the economic interests of mediatization stakeholders, including the ICT industry. Against this backdrop, this paper scrutinizes what the alleged ‘mobility revolution’ entails according to some of those who would benefit the most from such a revolution. More concretely, the paper studies the discursive practices of three leading corporations in the mobile communications sector: IBM, Huawei, and Ericsson. Stimulated by critical mediatization theory as well as related accounts of the (technology) discourse-reality relationship, the paper asks: if mobile media changes ‘everything’ in life – whose lives are being changed? If mobile media are ‘indispensable’ to modern ways of living – what are they supposed to do? Ultimately, the paper speaks to the theme of this special issue by interrogating how contemporary mobile technology discourse contributes to the (re-)production of social space. Findings suggest that mediatization is constructed as the response to an internal human drive for connectivity and as an inexorable natural force. Three sub-discourses on mobile technology are identified: ‘technologies of cosmos’, ‘technologies of self’, and, ultimately, ‘technologies of life’. Altogether, these sub-discourses disclose and reinforce the hegemonic nature of mediatization by communicating the indispensability of mobile media in modern – notably, urban and privileged – lives. In addition to providing answers to the study’s empirical questions, the paper includes a discussion about the potential implications of existing discourse overlaps between ICT companies and mediatization theorists, as well as a sketch for an agenda for the ‘discursive turn’ in mediatization studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keywords [en]
mediatization, indispensability, social space, discursive turn, technology discourse, ICT corporation
National Category
Media and Communications Communication Studies Human Aspects of ICT
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-66554OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-66554DiVA, id: diva2:1187206
Conference
NordMedia: Mediated Realities – Global Challenges, the 23rd Nordic Conference on Media and Communication Research, Tampere, Finland, Aug 17-19, 2017
Available from: 2018-03-02 Created: 2018-03-02 Last updated: 2018-07-09Bibliographically approved

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