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Communicating the City

Meanings, Practices, Interactions


Edited By Giorgia Aiello, Matteo Tarantino and Kate Oakley

How human meanings, practices and interactions produce and are produced by urban space is the focus of this timely and exciting addition to the study of urban communication.

Challenging notions of the ‘urban’ as physically, economically or technologically determined, this book explores key intersections of discourse, materiality, technology, mobility, identity and inequality in acts of communication across urban and urbanizing contexts. From leisure and media consumption among Chinese migrant workers in a Guangdong village to the diverse networks and communication infrastructures of global cities like London and Los Angeles, this collection combines a range of perspectives to ask fundamental questions about the significance and status of cities in times of intensified mediation and connectivity.

With case studies from Italy, Britain, Ireland, Russia, the United States and China, this international collection demonstrates that both empirical and critical knowledge on the relationship between communication and urban life has become vital across the humanities and social sciences.

Communicating the City will be essential reading for all scholars and students who desire to gain an in-depth understanding of the multiple roles that media and communication have in lived experiences of the city.

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Chapter Six: Practices of location-sharing and the performances of locative identity among Italian users of Foursquare (Federica Timeto)


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Practices OF location-sharing AND THE performances OF locative identity among Italian users OF Foursquare



Locative media are those communication media that include location-aware technologies. Such technologies convert signals from reference points (GPS satellites, mobile phone towers, RFID transmitters) into geographic coordinates in order to locate the user in space, and are now integrated into a vast array of consumer products ranging from mobile phones to wearables. Among locative media, LBSNs are the social networks in which information and communication flows are based on spatial location and located social interaction.

Locative mobile media environments transform sociospatial dynamics not only because of the technical aspects of mobile devices but mostly because of the networks of practices that develop through them, thus enabling multilevel connections that are both located and mobile, near and remote, digital and physical, actual and “actualizable.” Practices of use of locative media redefine the ways information is produced, consumed, and circulated in increasingly diffuse, mobile, and user-oriented contexts set apart by the strong contingency and hybridity of social ties within the permeable situation of communication (Greenfield, 2006; Meyrowitz, 2005). Those practices can enrich and expand the presentation of the self in social interaction (Goffman, 1959) through the “presentation of place” (de Souza e Silva & Frith, 2012, p. 162 ff.; Sutko & de Souza e Silva, 2011). This means that the already existing features of a place, physical or...

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