Mobile Communication and the New Sense of Places: a Critique of Spatialization in Cyberculture

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

The underlying idea of this paper can be expressed as follows: mobile information technologies have enabled new means of communication and sociability based on what I call “information territories.” What is questioned here is a new relationship between information technologies and the dimensions of place, territory, community and mobility. I will argue that, under the label of “locative media,” the new mobile technologies are creating new forms of territorialization (control, surveillance, and tracking) and new meanings of space, place, and territory, contradicting the theory of “non-place” or “no sense of place.” Moreover, this impels us to discuss the ideas of anomie and isolation with the emergence of new forms of sociability and community bonds created by location-based services.

Pull Quotes: 

The relationship between media and spatialization processes is not new. Spatialization is created by changes in space, by producing places. Spatialization is thus a process of intense flows that create a sense of belonging. In the 19th and 20th centuries, with the rise of the mass media, we were in the realm of broadcasting. We could consume information in private or semipublic space, but it was difficult to produce content and impossible on the go. At the end of the 20th century, with the emergence of post-mass media functions, the relationship between mobility, place, and media has changed. We face a new mobility that puts together physical and virtual mobilities and allows the rise of new forms of places as a result of the relationship between informational territories and the territories that constitute them. This spatialization has grown from its post-mass media function through the creation of an informational territory and the overlap of physical and electronic space in temporary physical and informational mobilities.

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Luciana Gattass