Attached To My Phone: A Study of Affective Mooring in Mobile Practice

Dixon, Natalie. 2019. Attached To My Phone: A Study of Affective Mooring in Mobile Practice. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

In this dissertation I foreground the affective dimension of mobile phones as a way to interrogate the socio-political implications of our relationship with technology. I question whether certain narratives have been submerged or even lost in the cultural history of technology. And, if so, what is at stake in their re-telling? To do this, I draw on a philosophical interpretation of affect as offered by Baruch Spinoza, adopted by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari and developed further by cultural theorists such as Amparo Lasén, Larissa Hjorth and Susan Kozel. Here affect is articulated as a dynamic force that is contingent on relations between bodies – organic, human or nonhuman – and exists as part of fields of connectedness. Additionally, I draw on theories of embodiment as well as work from cultural theory and media and cultural studies to focus on the lived, felt experiences of bodies as the premise for developing concepts for use in mobile studies. I adopt a relational model of analysing media, whereby the body is perceived as a process of exchange between people, objects, ideas and places. My methodology follows a narrative approach, guided by the structures of feelings as a way to critique some taken-for-granted ideas about mobiles, such as the freedom they are said to enable or the social corrosion they supposedly engender. I examine cultural archives where affect seems to accumulate: for example, in messaging groups, films, advertisements, comic books, commentary and academic literature. ‘Affective mooring’ – a concept that articulates affect as a binding force in the formation of particular subject positions and relations of power – becomes a theoretical tool for developing critical analyses about technology in my dissertation. Using this tool I present a number of findings about mobiles such as the ways in which they engender conditions of work and positions of gender. Also, I show how as spatial technologies, mobiles are key in the formation of feelings of belonging and alienation in particular environments.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Mobiles, affect, affect theory, affective mooring, mobile culture, mobile phones, emotions

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


31 August 2019

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

10 Sep 2019 11:29

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:15


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