Masters Thesis defended

After 3 year of hard work I finally defended my Maters thesis on August 20, 2014. I am very grateful to my supervisor, Dr. Geoffrey Rockwell, and to the commuter members Dr, Maureen Engel and Dr. Stan Ruecker.

I am now Master of Arts in Humanities Computing with the thesis Mobile Media: New Mediations in the Urban Space.

Update: you can download my thesis here: http://hdl.handle.net/10402/era.39842

Here is the abstract and the table of content:

Abstract

The development of Information and Communication Technologies during the second half of the twentieth century established an accelerated process digitizing cultural objects, transcoding analog information into digital data. As the speed of digital networks increases exponentially and the Internet spreads out beyond its imagined scope, we enter the information age and the process of globalization is consolidated. Digital media has become the central nervous system of contemporary society, and the recent popularization of mobile media has intensified the dynamic process of mediation and communication in post-modern society to the point of a paradigm change: from the monopoly of mass media culture, to decentralized transmissions in a post-mass media era.

These technologies shift the place of mediation, affecting the way society explores, perceives, and interacts with the physical space. As a result, mobile media become an important interface in the production of social space: a new type of hybrid space, composed of digital layers that overlap the physical environment, is produced. Some commentators claim that this raises serious privacy issues, pointing toward a world of absolute surveillance and social control. Conversely, tracking, control and surveillance are actions taken in the digital layer in order to interact with physical places, which can empower people, enhancing direct participation in society, as well as encouraging (re)appropriation of private and public spaces.

This thesis builds on sociological approaches and media studies theories to understand how intensive use of wireless communication systems in conjunction with digital networks enables massive participation in the production and distribution of information, resulting in a decentralization of social mediation processes. In other words, it exposes how mobile technology, its social relations, and the relationship with the material and symbolic world in contemporary society, is reforming mass media and redefining our perception and experience in everyday urban life, and reinforcing the importance of space and place in the development of sociability and the construction of people’s identity.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1. Spatial Turn 5
2. Chapter Summaries 7
Chapter 1: Space and Place 12
 1. Space 15
 1.1 Social Space 16
 1.2 Space Non-space 22
 2. Here and There 24
 2.1 Community 26
 2.2 Mobility 28
 2.3 Mapping 29
 3. Downtown 30
 3.1 The Urban Space 31
 3.2 Global Cities 33
 3.3 Urban Reappropriations 35
Chapter 2: The Crisis of Mass Media Culture 41
 1. Spring: and so they are born. 44
 1.1 Mechanical Reproduction 46
 1.2 Separation of the Message from our Body 47
 1.3 Political use of Works of Art 48
 2. Summer: let’s go out and play. 50
 2.1 Broadcasting 51
 2.2 Media as Mobilizing Power 53
 2.3 Simulations 54
 3. Autumn: the sky is falling apart. 56
 3.1 Digitization 57
 3.2 Digital Media 59
 3.3 Remediations 61
 3.4 Rhizome 63
 4. Winter: the future is yet to come. 66
 4.1 New Mediations 67
 4.2 Democratization 68
Chapter 3: Mobile Media and New Forms of Spatialization 72
 1. What are Mobile Media? 75
 1.1 Reading Devices 77
 1.2 Photographic Equipment 78
 2. Digital Mobile Media 79
 2.1 History 81
 2.2 Affordances 82
 2.3 Locative Media 83
 3. Spatial Embodiment 84
 3.1 Mapping and Representation of Space 87
 3.2 Urban Digital Annotation 90
 3.3 Locational Mobile Games 94
 3.4 Smart Mobs 97
Conclusion: Responsive Attitude and the Near Future 104
 1. Surveillance and Power 105
 2. New Forms of Spatialization 108
 2.1 Blasé Attitude 109
 2.2 Responsive Attitude 110
 2.3 New Heterotopias 112
 3. Mediations of Space and Digital Reappropriations 113
Bibliography 119

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