A Postphenomenological Inquiry of Cell Phones

A Postphenomenological Inquiry of Cell Phones : Genealogies, Meanings, and Becoming

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Why does the announcement of a new cellphone model ignite excitement and passion? Why do most people return home when they forget their cellphones, while only few would return for their wallets? How did the cellphone technology become so dominant for many of us? This book offers an analysis of the historical evolution and of the meanings of this technology in the lives of billions of people. The book offers a unique point of view on the cellphone that merges genealogical analysis of its development since the 1990s and philosophical insights into a coherent analytical framework. With new concepts like "histories of the future" and "memory prosthesis," the book aims to explain the excitement arising from new model announcements and the ever-growing dependency on the cellphone through the framing of these experiences in wide philosophical contexts. It is the first philosophical analysis of the important roles the cellphone plays in contemporary everydayness.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 182 pages
  • 158 x 239 x 19mm | 417g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 2 Tables, unspecified; 8 Illustrations, black and white
  • 0739198483
  • 9780739198483

Review quote

How did the cell phone come to be the multitalented and indispensable object it is today? Galit Wellner, in a technologically well-informed account, has singled out three major steps taken in the development of this artifact... Wellner's three-step development model gives a fine overview of a very recent history of technology. Icon Do not be fooled by the name "cell phone," or by its modest size and weight. This device is a networked supercomputer, whose effect on the world's economy and culture is a great as that of the Personal Computer in the 1980s, the Mainframe computer in the 1960s, or broadcast television in the 1950s. It may even be more: a cybernetic appendage to the human body and mind, beyond the imaginings of even the most far-seeing science fiction writers. Galit Wellner's book tells us how this came to be, why this device is so game-changing, and into what strange new worlds it might be taking us. -- Paul E. Ceruzzi, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Galit Wellner has written a book that uses cell phones as an exemplary case for presenting a very clearly structured and excellently presented postphenomenological methodology of how to analysis technology. Through a well thought out use of Don Ihde's I-technology-world triad the author present an analysis of four historical variations of cell phones and their impacts (concerning voice, texts, multimedia applications and perhaps most interesting how cell phones move into a future realm of sensory exploration). From these variations the author extracts three invariances which in an innovative way add to our general understanding of philosophy of technology (the cell phone as wall-window, quasi-face and memory prosthesis). This is a book I will recommend to all with an interest in postphenomenological methodology and philosophy of technology. -- Cathrine Hasse, University of Aarhus
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About Galit Wellner

Galit Wellner is a post-doctoral researcher at Ben Gurion University of the Negev.
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Table of contents

Part I - Historical Variations - First Historical Variation: Talking Heads - Second Historical Variation: Texting-at-Hand - Third Historical Variation: The Kingdom of Multi-media Applications - Fourth Historical Variation: Sensory Exploration Interlude: Transforming "I," Technology and World Part II - Invariants - First Invariant: Wall-Window-Screen - Second Invariant: The Quasi-Face of the Cellphone - Third Invariant: Memory Prosthesis Summary: Becoming-Mobile
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