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Perpetual contact as a communicative affordance: opportunities, constraints, and emotions

Mascheroni, Giovanna and Vincent, Jane (2016) Perpetual contact as a communicative affordance: opportunities, constraints, and emotions. Mobile Media and Communication, 4 (3). pp. 310-326. ISSN 2050-1579

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Identification Number: 10.1177/2050157916639347


This paper draws on qualitative data collected as a part of a comparative study on children and teenagers’ uses of smartphones in nine European countries to explore the meanings and emotions associated with the enhanced possibility of “full-time” contact with peers provided by smartphones. It argues that full-time access to peers—which interviewees identify as the main consequence of smartphones and instant messaging apps on their interactions with friends—is a communicative affordance, that is, a set of socially constructed opportunities and constraints that frame possibilities of action by giving rise to a diversity of communicative practices, as well as contradictory feelings among young people: intimacy, proximity, security as well as anxiety, exclusion and obligation. Understanding the perceptions and emotions around the affordance of “anywhere, anytime” accessibility, therefore, helps in untangling how communicative affordances are individually perceived but also, and more importantly, socially appropriated, negotiated, legitimised, and institutionalised.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 The Authors
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2016 11:31
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:23
Projects: SI -2012-KEP-411201
Funders: Better Internet for Kids

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