The face of the phone: studies of public and private mobile-phone use

LOCKLEY, Eleanor (2009). The face of the phone: studies of public and private mobile-phone use. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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The following thesis provides two studies which explore the social impact of the mobile phone on the public and private spheres. Study One focuses upon the interaction management strategies used by people in public contexts: singles; groups; dyads; indoor; and outdoor locations and shows that interaction management strategies are particularly used when phone users have to simultaneously manage their 'remote' and 'co-local' communication. The study consists of eighteen hour-long observations which focus upon how mobile phone interactions affect dyad and group behaviour, and an online survey which draws upon eight-hundred responses about patterns and opinions of public mobile phone use. Study Two focuses upon the mobile phone as an affective device for communicating emotions and explores opinions about socially acceptable etiquette for the management of relationships via the mobile phone. This study focuses upon the socio-emotional contexts for private mobile phone use and looks at how people use their mobile phone to manage face in their personal relationships. Study Two makes use of data from eleven interviews and a nationally representative telephone survey gaining twelve hundred responses. The interview data presents several key themes: attachment to the phone; emotion and the mobile phone; socio-emotional use of the mobile phone; text messages in relationships; mobile phones as a method for facilitating and maintaining new dynamic 'always on' relationships. The survey data shows that mobile phones are affective devices for mediating emotion and are intrinsically linked to emotion. The thesis draws on and develops ideas from Goffman’s (1959, 1963) key works on interaction in public to help show how the phone is used in both the public and private spheres for interaction management, relationship management and face management. The thesis proposes and evaluates developments of Goffman’s ideas so as to take into account the new contexts of interaction provided by mobile communications devices. In short, this research aims to present ordinary everyday occurrences of mobile phone use. In doing so, it will show that mobile phone use in both the public and private spheres, is an extension upon existing social interactions

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Yates, Simeon
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Helen Garner
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2015 14:54
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 13:02

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