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Mobile phones as autobiography: young women, delinquency and self-hood Dr Elaine Arnull London South Bank University UK.

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Presentation on theme: "Mobile phones as autobiography: young women, delinquency and self-hood Dr Elaine Arnull London South Bank University UK."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mobile phones as autobiography: young women, delinquency and self-hood Dr Elaine Arnull London South Bank University UK

2 Research Aims: How young women portray themselves through their use of mobile phone technology and other social networking platforms If delinquent behaviour can be observed as part of this process:- do young women record acts of delinquency and how is that mediated by their presentation of self/understanding of self?

3 Background Mobile phone use particularly attractive to girls and young women Mobile phone use mediated by gender and age Marketing of phones aimed at specific markets – gender and country (Motorolas Razr champagne gold model 2007)

4 Background The mobile phone as a part of the users body (Stald 2008) That the mobile phone becomes part of young womans sense of self (Weber and Mitchell 2008) Features such as the camera are linked to notions of self-identity; observer/observed; public/private memories

5 Aims of this pilot/paper To bring together considerations of development of identity and creation of social self through the use of mobile phone and social networking platforms. Consider how in the construction of identity using these media how young women mediate, explore and portray delinquency?

6 Methods Pilot study – to establish scope of the project and some key questions In-depth interviews with six young women aged years in fulltime education Focus group with three young women attending a project for girls who offend.

7 Findings Describing their phone girls rarely refer to/ know the model. Describe how it looks, feels, colour, love it/hate it. Txt and phoning by far the most common features and used for different things, groups of friends. Other popular features are the camera, alarm, music – never games – associated with boys/young children.

8 Findings Type of phone determined by contract chosen and use of txt or calls mediates that. Cost is important – txt or calls priorities. Call and txt people they see all the time – close friends Txt people see less often, know less well, boys.

9 Findings Girls are better correspondents than boys Boys use of phones portrayed as utilitarian Cameras are the next most important feature on a phone Features on phone such as camera and music are important because you dont have to carry lots of equipment – but they dont replace i-pods and digital cameras

10 Findings Phone use and social networking sites are different and used differently Mobile phones are a fiercely guarded private space shared only with close friends Looking through someone elses phone without permission severely frowned on Parents and siblings (especially younger) do not have access

11 Findings All had instances of their phone privacy being invaded – deeply felt More invasion (especially by boys) when younger All expected to share texts with close friends and for them to do the same Girls saved texts purposely to share, analyse and reminisce

12 Findings Photos were kept for private and public memory but rarely (if ever) transferred to social network sites – this came from digital cameras Phones and social network sites are different – one private, one public Social networking sites generated significant caution about what was posted and expectations of trust

13 Findings Boys were more likely to take videos – usually of something funny which was usually drunkenness – girls/boys not expected to be upset about this Girls from state schools were aware of people videoing fighting between boys and girls and sharing/posting those Only girls who were delinquent had videoed/been videoed fighting

14 Findings All were aware of people having shared/posted photos/information about others to hurt or embarrass them by phone or platform It was described as bitchiness Only delinquent girl admitted to doing this herself

15 Conclusions Phones are a very private space They are associated with close friends Txt and calling are used for different purposes – calling increases with age Txt is usually (but not always) a more distant activity/associated with boys The sharing of txts is bond-forming and associated with close friendship and trust

16 Conclusions The look and feel of the phone is important and it can be liked or hated – but it is always precious Parents and siblings cannot share this space Self is created and mediated through contacts and the sharing of txts and images with close friends

17 Conclusions Delinquent acts, such as drunkenness, fighting and bitchiness all take place in the phone and social networking space Delinquent behaviour was more likely to be admitted to by delinquent girls but all were aware of amongst a wider group Mobile phones and social networking sites are very different spaces – mobiles are private, social networking sites more definitely associated with self-image creation.


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