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Mobile Momentum: Conceptualizing the Social and Technological Changes of Mobile Communication

A presentation by Colin Agur
February 9, 2018 -
12:15pm to 1:15pm

Ford Hall, Room B10

Drawing on the concept of technological momentum developed by Thomas Hughes, this talk will seek to develop a theoretical framework for understanding the social and technological changes that have arisen (and will continue to arise) with the development and popularization of mass mobile telephony worldwide. The talk has three parts: It will begin by outlining the concept of technological momentum and highlighting its use for scholarly understanding of large-scale changes brought about by new patterns in technological usage; it will then focus on mobile communication and develop the idea of mobile momentum, drawing on a set of episodic studies of mobile usage; finally, the talk will use the idea of mobile momentum to explore questions of authority and power that have emerged and are likely to emerge as mobile communication continues to develop and integrate capabilities from other technologies. This is an opportunity for faculty and graduate students to think conceptually about how to theorize emerging communication technology especially as it continues to evolve, and is intended as an interactive discussion for scholars interested in communication and media broadly.
Colin Agur is an Assistant Professor at the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. His research examines contemporary mobile phone usage, the social and legal implications of mass mobile telephony, and the unanticipated consequences of network development. At the International Communication Association (ICA), he is Chair of the Mobile Communication Interest Group. In 2016-17 at the University of Minnesota, he taught JOUR 1501 (Digital Games, Sims and Apps: Storytelling, Play, and Commerce) and JOUR 3551 (Economics of New Media). In fall 2017, he was a Residential Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) at the University of Minnesota. In 2016 he was a Research Fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. Prior to coming to the University of Minnesota, he was a postdoctoral fellow in media and law at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project. In 2014 he received his PhD in Communications from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.