André H. Caron, Ed.D., Human Development from Harvard University is Full Professor at the Departement of Communication of the Université de Montréal. He researches cultural and policy issues and the general impact of traditional and new media in society.
Letizia Caronia, PhD Education, is Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Societies – Faculty of Education in the University of Bologna. She was visiting scholar at the Department of Communication of the Université de Montréal from 2005 through 2011. She researches media education, epistempology and methodology of qualitative research, and language, social interactions and culture in everyday life.
Following Certeau (1984), Caron and Caronia believe that the maneuvers of people “play roles in producing new and often unforeseen cultural models of things” (217). They find mobile technologies to be particularly interesting because technologies are material and discursive objects, contributing to the one’s already rich quotidian acts offer “potential fields of actions, possible narrative programs…. [they] fabricate culture (45). Our phones are not incidental to our lives — our media objects construct meaning in our lives. They compel our communication and the resultant texts are the cultural artifacts.
Evoking Canclini (2001), Caron and Caronia establish a deeper, potentially political, meaning between product and user. That appropriation, through “intentionality,” the act of perceiving an object through one’s own vantage, “allows resistance to objectual and cultural constraints and enables people to overcome social and historical determinism” (53) — “where there is choice, there is responsibility” (ibid).
In terms of personal mobility, we now consider the complementary conceptions of delocalization and multilocalization. The latter wonders where you are now and where you are going. Using your cell phone is a multilocalizing act — you can be in the private and public spheres coetaneously. Digital communications make the borders between these two spheres permeable, and since their uses proliferate, our perceptions of the spheres likewise change.
Our mobile media transform mere spaces into, following Augé (1995), places. Mobile telephony transform Augé’s non-places, taken with Caronia’s (2005) “no-when times” (the temporal analog to Augé’s non-place), into functional social places and times.