Mobile Selves: Gender, ethnicity and mobile phones in the everyday lives of young Pakistani-British women and men

Eileen Green, Carrie Singleton

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Abstract

This paper focuses on mobile phone use by a young minority ethnic group as a medium through which to explore diversity and technology use in everyday life. Recent research with young people has shown that mobile phones are instrumentally, socially and emotionally important but few have problematized the homogeneous concept of 'youth'. This paper argues for increased recognition of the intersections of social categories such as youth, gender and ethnicity with technologies, specifically mobile phones, in order to understand complexity of use. Drawing on new empirical, qualitative data from an urban area in the North East of England we explore the focus group narratives of young Pakistani-British Muslim women and men focusing on the notion of 'shifting' gendered and cultural identities and social practices, developed and reworked in relation to the use of mobile phones. We look at the gendered dynamics of mobile use, including gender talk and text, and ask whether the young women and men experience mobiles differently in everyday life. We also explore the ways in which mobiles are used to create 'space of one's own' and the gendered dynamics of remaining connected, especially to key peer groups. The paper concludes with the assertion that in order to fully explore the mutability of youth cultures across space and time, we need to develop a more dynamic concept of 'mobile selves' by exploring the place and meaning of technologies such as mobile phones in the rich tapestries of young people's lives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-526
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007

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