Mizuko Ito, Daisuke Okabe (2004) Intimate Connections: Contextualizing Japanese Youth and Mobile Messaging, Forthcoming in Richard Harper, Leysia Palen and Alex Taylor Eds., Inside the Text: Social Perspectives on SMS in the Mobile Age
This paper describes social, cultural, and historical contexts that structure current mobile text messaging practices of Japanese youth. First are ways in which mobile messaging has been structured by the power geometries of existing places of home, school, and public places. Second, the paper presents the central social context in which youth peer messaging practice is situated, that of the intimate peer group. Finally, the paper describes how these practices are situated in a postwar history of intergenerational struggle and cultural politics over youth street and communication cultures. Our central argument is that youth technology use is driven not only by certain psychological and developmental imperatives, but also by youths’ position in historically specific social structures. Mobile messaging provides a mechanism through which youth can overcome some of the adult-controlled power structures that govern their everyday lives.
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