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Mobile and Ubiquitous Media

Critical and International Perspectives

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Edited By Michael S. Daubs and Vincent R. Manzerolle

What does the phrase "ubiquitous media" actually mean? Individual definitions are just as varied and ubiquitous as the media to which they refer. As a result, there is to date no large-scale theoretical framework through which we can understand the term. The goal of this volume is to provide a diverse set of critical, theoretical, and international approaches useful to those looking for a more diverse and nuanced understanding of what ubiquitous media means analytically.

In contrast to other existing texts on mobile media, these contributions on mobile media are contextualised within a larger discussion on the nature and history of ubiquitous media. Other sections of this edited volume are dedicated to historical perspectives on ubiquitous media, ubiquitous media and visual culture, the role of ubiquitous media in surveillance, the political economy of ubiquitous media, and the way a ubiquitous media environment affects communities, spaces, and places throughout the world.

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Introduction: From Here to Ubiquity (Michael S. Daubs / Vincent R. Manzerolle)

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Introduction

From Here to Ubiquity

Michael S. Daubs and Vincent R. Manzerolle

Introduction

The impetus for this edited collection was the increasingly frequent appearance of the word “ubiquitous” in reference to a wide variety of media and technologies in both the popular and academic press. A Google Ngram search on the phrase “ubiquitous media” reveals the term has been appearing sparingly in texts since 1964, but shows a sharp increase in use since 1984.1 Even a cursory online search will reveal multiple articles claiming that we live in a “world of ubiquitous media,” a “ubiquitous media landscape,” or some variation thereof. The wireless technology developer Qualcomm (2011) has released statements referring to “ubiquitous connectivity and seamless experiences that are developing across mobile phones, computing and consumer electronics” and articles that reference ubiquitous media examine its problems and promise in fields ranging from advertising (Åkesson and Ihlström Eriksson 2010), to journalism (Gillmor 2010), to politics (Garon 2012; Mihailidis and Thevenin 2013), to education (Cope and Kalantzis 2010). Other texts, such as a 2009 volume of the journal Theory, Culture & Society edited by Mike Featherstone (2009), and the book Culture, Aesthetics, and Affect in Ubiquitous Media: The Prosaic Image by Helen Grace (2013) examine ubiquitous media within specific geographic regions or cultures, such as Asian communities in Japan or Hong Kong.

Despite these thoughtful examinations, there is a general tendency to treat this “world of ubiquitous media...

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