Class, Cultural Capital, and the Mobile Phone
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This article uses data from a representative survey on the applications of information and communication technologies to investigate the use of the mobile phone as a cultural object by different groups of respondents/consumers. Setting out from the premise that the symbolic and artefactual nature of new media, their ‘thingness’, should be a central part of any investigation of their social and cultural signifi cance, the article focuses on the meaning of the mobile phone as a cultural object and commodity sign for various groups of users/consumers. It also concentrates on the social structuring of mobile phone use by young people and addresses the relationship between class and the practices and meanings of mobile phone use in the context of young people’s consumption of other media and cultural technologies. It addresses one of the central questions in the sociology of culture—how are consumption tastes and practices related to class—and examines it through the case of mobile phone use. The study suggests that the general ‘technosensibility’ of young people, which seems a universal generational phenomenon, when interpreted in the context of the consumption of other ‘old’ and ‘new’ media and cultural consumption in general, is differentiated according to class and cultural capital. The article concludes that class distinctions produce a digital divide that results in two distinct populations of young users: the interacting and the interacted users.
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