My article ‘The comfort of mobile media: uncovering personal attachments with everyday devices’ has just been published in the journal Convergence. It’s a debate piece that looks across at work on everyday objects and suggests that we need to apply these ideas to mobile media. I start out with Walter Benjamin and link to work by Daniel Miller and Sherry Turkle amongst others. Here is the abstract:
This debate article notes that there is currently a tendency to focus, understandably, upon what it is that mobile media do, that is to say their functionality. This piece argues that we need to open up our analysis to understand these devices as objects with which individuals may develop an attachment. The piece draws upon literature that uncovers the attachments that people create with everyday objects and suggests that mobile media devices, as prominent everyday devices that are intimately incorporated into routine bodily practices, need also to be thought of in these terms. Here it is argued that it is important that we don’t just think of these devices as portals onto virtual culture, but that we acknowledge that these objects also have a material connection with the owner. These personal attachments with everyday devices are yet to receive sustained attention, yet these connections are actually an important part of how mobile media have become such a prominent and embedded part of contemporary life. The aim of this article is to open up this additional dimension to the study of mobile media and to place it upon the collective analytical agenda for those researching new media forms.