References to books, projects and academic papers that inspire us


Everyday Contexts of Camera Phone Use (Mizuko Ito & Daisuke Okabe)

Full title: Everyday Contexts of Camera Phone Use: Steps Toward Technosocial Ethnographic Frameworks. (Chapter in Mobile Communication in Everyday Life: An Ethnographic View. Edited by Höflich, Joachim & Hartmann, Maren Eds. Berlin 2006: Frank & Timme, 79-102.)

Study of emerging practices of camera phone usage in Tokyo. Technosocial situations of camphone use.

Main thesis:
Camera phones are a relatively new portable media technology that is rapidly becoming commonplace. They have added one more component of the layered information and media ecology that overlays the everyday experience in urban Japan. The usage of the camera phone is still an emerging practice, though some usage patterns seems to be stabilizing. There are indicators of practices of picture taking and sharing that differ both from the uses of the stand-alone camera and the kinds of social sharing that happened via mobile phone communication.
Practices identified: Personal archiving; Intimate visual co-presence; Peer-to-peer news and reporting. These practices for capturing and sharing information are inseparable from social relations and contexts, and grow out of the patterns of mobile phone use that have been established through voice and text exchange as well as practices of amateur photography and resilient categories of social relationships.
The camera phone is one of the latest additions to our technological repertoire that enables us to mobilize our existing social relationships and systems of meaning in ways that are both innovative and locally intelligible.

Ethnographic research, based on diary study of usage patterns.
– Pre-interview to get basic background information and train participant in self-documentation process.
– Diary keeping by participant
– In-depth interview to gather more information about their ICT habits and go over the content of the diary in detail

Combination of detailed and contextualized observational data collected by the participants themsleves and in-depth interviews where researchers and participants co-construct the meaning and patterns behind the observational data.

Theoretical framework:
Situational framework, representing a translation of traditional ethnographic analytic frameworks to newly technologized social practices. Building on previous studies by authors on new kinds of on technosocial situations that are emerging through mobile phone usage.
The analytical challenge was to retain an anthropological focus on native meaning and situated practice, while recognizing the importance of remote and mediated meanings and social relations.
Much of the work in technology and design studies is primarily interested in the specifics of individualized activity and interaction, rather than on cross-cutting communal and cultural structure surrounding the activity. By contrast, most work in anthropology prioritizes settings for behavior that are spatially localized and communal rather than private, atomized, and distributed. This study hybridizes these approaches, by developing analytic categories that are embedded in established social structures and systems of meaning, but are newly embodied through technical mediation.
The analytic approach differs from a strictly ethnomethodological approach that deals with activity as emergent in interaction rather than generated as part of a pre-existing social and cultural system. The approach also differs from certain sociological frameworks that seek to develop analytic or technical categories that transcend the specifics of local social and cultural structures.

Academic paper.

PDF of the full text
Homepage Mizuko Ito

Very relevant for B&B. Both because of methodology and the underlying conceptual framework. Looking at technosocial developments from an ethnographic point of view.
No reference to styles/appearances however. This could be our contribution.

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