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”I can’t talk now, I’m in a fitting room”: Availability and Location in Mobile Phone Conversations

Journal article
Authors Alexandra Weilenmann
Published in Environment and Planning A
Volume 35
Issue 9
Pages 1589-1605
Publication year 2003
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Pages 1589-1605
Language en
Keywords mobile phones, conversation analysis, mobility, mobile talk
Subject categories Communication Studies, Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified, Technology and social change

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to begin to investigate the ways in which participants in mobile phone conversations orient to each other’s location, activities and availability. Through looking at data consisting of recorded mobile phone conversations, a conversation analytic approach is used to make initial observations regarding the character of mobile phone conversations. It is found that the frequent question “What are you doing?” sometimes worked as getting a location as part of the answer, which shows how location, activity and availability are strongly related. The participants thus got information about location, when this was considered relevant, through asking about activity. Location seemed especially relevant if it could give information about a future meeting. In some conversations where there seemed to be things going on where the called party was located, the caller attended to this by initiating the topic using a strategy giving the called a chance to end the conversation.

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