Polymedia and Mobile Communication

Madianou, Mirca. 2020. Polymedia and Mobile Communication. In: Richard Ling; Leopoldina Fortunati; Gerard Goggin; Lim Sun Sun and Li Yuling, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Mobile Communication and Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 68-81. ISBN 9780190864385 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

This chapter identifies how the theory of polymedia is integrally linked to developments in mobile communication. The termpolymediaaims to capture media as composite envi­ronments—instead of discrete technologies—which users navigate in order to manage their relationships. The popularization of internet-enabled portable devices, such as smartphones and tablets, and the parallel wide availability of wireless services have given rise to a culture of ubiquitous connectivity. Smartphones enable the accessing of a mini-ecosystem of platforms and applications while on the move. The related affordances of ubiquitous connectivity, portability, and fluidity between platforms are vital for the emer­gence of polymedia practices. Mobile communication developments have also contributed to improved internet access, which is one of the preconditions for polymedia practices to emerge. The theory of polymedia in turn offers a distinctive approach for understanding smartphones as mini-ecosystems in their own right and, ultimately, for understanding the micro-workings of mobile communication.

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Book Section

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


August 2018Accepted
6 April 2020Published

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Date Deposited:

11 Aug 2020 10:47

Last Modified:

16 Apr 2021 15:04



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