de Souza e Silva, A., & Glover-Rijkse (2021). Developing the Retro Mobile Games Database: Tracing interdependencies among early mobile games. Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) Annual Conference. October. [Video]
de Souza e Silva, A., & Glover-Rijkse, R.* (2021). Developing a Mobile Games Database: Tracing interdependencies among early mobile games. Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) Annual Conference. Virtual. October. [Video]
Call for papers for a special issue of Mobile Media & Communication, vol. 11, no. 2 (May 2023)
COVID-19 Now and Then: Reflections on Mobile Communication and the Pandemic
Adriana de Souza e Silva (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Professor of Communication, North Carolina State University
Mai Nou Xiong-Gum (email@example.com)
Assistant Professor of Communication, Furman University
Although our history with pandemics is long, our collective memory of pandemics is short. The 1918 influenza pandemic, for example, infected almost a third of the world’s population and claimed more than 100 million lives, and yet it has been scarcely mentioned afterwards (Crosby, 2003). This tendency to forget lessons learned from pandemics is problematic because it leads to the lack of proper public funds allocation for scientific research, public health, and pandemic preparedness. In addition, with the urge to go back to “normal,” we might forget important lessons that a large-scale public health crisis might have taught us about the way we communicate and experience spaces. Understanding these lessons is especially important to mobile communication scholars since mobile communication can distribute and diffract our ability to move in the world. Mobile communication can make our movements legible, as in the examples of contact-tracing apps or of aggregating location data to visualize mobility patterns at the individual and the community level (Ekong et al., 2020).
Our experience of spaces, mediated by mobile communication devices, has also drastically changed with the pandemic. While the traditionally mobile global elites (Castells, 2000) are privileged enough to become immobile and work remotely, many low-income populations with limited access to technology or the infrastructure that supports mobile communication are forced to keep moving in order to work or to find access to these infrastructures. Noticeably, refugees and migrants, as well as low-income communities in rural or “less developed” areas in the Global North and South, developed creative forms of mobility to deal with the required immobility imposed by the pandemic (de Souza e Silva & Xiong-Gum, 2020). For example, for many people with no computer or internet connection at home, their mobile phone became the most important instrument for mobile work, connecting from home, reaching out to clients, taking orders, and paying bills. Mobile phones became systematically used as interfaces for tele-medicine, locate testing sites, and contact-tracing. For those who shelter in place, mobile applications that support delivery services for food or grocery items play a critical role in the continued circulation of goods in the growing of a mobile-guided gig economy. In locations without access to mobile communication such as signal “dead zones,” people have to travel to engage in mobile communication and in locations where others cannot travel, mobilities are outsourced. As a result, a network of mobilities emerge as our mobile capabilities inform our mobile communication capabilities and vice versa.
The COVID-19 pandemic may soon be over, but we know it won’t be the last one. Preparing for the next pandemic includes understanding the past and planning for the future. It also includes rethinking “normal” ways of interacting with others and the spaces in which we live. What else have we learned during this time of forced immobility that might challenge the traditional roles of mobile communication in our everyday lives? Will the way we experience public and domestic spaces via mobile technologies change? What are some of the more sustainable futures of urban networked mobility? How can we rethink the meanings of social interaction while immobile and at distance? And, will some of these shifts permanently stay with us and change how we communicate, play, and socialize? These are just some questions that emerge when we consider the future of mobile communication and networked urban mobility after COVID-19.
In this special issue, we are looking for future oriented pieces that analyze how the pandemic has shaped and changed our mobile communication, sociability and networked urban mobility practices around the world. We welcome papers that might take the lessons learned during this pandemic and consider how these lessons can help us in the future. We particularly welcome contributions that analyze the impacts of the pandemic in the practices of minoritized populations, especially in the Global South.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
- The future of urban networked mobility in both Global North and South
- The shift to more sustainable forms of micromobiity, particularly focusing on the integration between transportation and mobile apps
- New forms of experiencing urban and public spaces via mobile technologies that take into account active mobility and walking
- The mobile-guided gig economy for delivery of services
- The development of location-based apps that can help us prepare for the next pandemic
- The future of contact-tracing apps, and their relationship with privacy and surveillance
- The shift in the nature of hybrid spaces from urban to domestic spaces
- The role of mobile augmented-reality and mobile videoconferencing for remote work
- The role of mobile communication in helping low-income and minoritized communities
Submitted articles can come from various theoretical and methodological perspectives, as long as they engage with mobile communication scholarship and focus on the future and lessons learned from the pandemic from a mobile media and communication perspective.
- Extended abstracts submission (1,000 words): 30 August, 2021
- Full papers submission (8,000 words): 1 March, 2022
- Final acceptance: 15 January, 2023
Please submit an extended abstract of no more than 1,000 words (including references) that states the paper’s main argument, contribution, and takeaway. The abstract should clearly explain how the full submission will contribute to the aims of this special issue. Please email extended abstracts to firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 August 2021. Abstracts should be accompanied by a short biography for each author (approx. 200 words). Also, include the names, titles, and contact information for 2-3 suggested reviewers.
Positively reviewed abstracts (notification by 15 October 2021) will be invited to submit full articles by 1 March 2022, through http://mmc.sagepub.com. Invited submissions will undergo a blind peer-review process following the usual procedures of Mobile Media & Communication. The special section will be published in Volume 11, no. 2 of Mobile Media & Communication in May 2023. Please note that manuscripts must conform to the guidelines for Mobile Media & Communication. In case of further questions, please contact the guest editors.
- Castells, M. (2000). The Rise of the Network Society. Blackwell.
- Crosby, A. W. (2003). America’s forgotten pandemic: the influenza of 1918. Cambridge University Press.
- de Souza e Silva, A., & Xiong-Gum, M. N. (2020). Mobile Networked Creativity: Developing a theoretical framework for understanding creativity as survival. Communication Theory.
Souza e Silva, A., Glover-Rijkse, R., Njathi, A., & De Cunto Bueno, D. Playful Mobilities in the Global South: A study of Pokémon Go play in Rio de Janeiro and Nairobi. New Media & Society. DOI: 10.1177/14614448211016400.
Guest post about the release of the Retro Mobile Gaming Database.
de Souza e Silva, A., & Gover-Rijkse, R. (2021). Tracing the History of Mobile Games. NCSU News. NC State University.
The Retro Mobile Gaming Database (RMGD) contains a collection of mobile games from 1975 to 2008. This database allows users to search games by multiple search criteria including title, year developed, type of game, and more. This robust search system will help researchers not only to find games but also to create new correlations among historical types of mobile games.
Souza e Silva, A., Glover-Rijkse, R., Njathi, A., & De Cunto Bueno, D. (2021). Exploring the material conditions of Pokémon Go play in Rio de Janeiro and Nairobi. Information, Communication and Society. DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2021.1909098
de Souza e Silva, A., Glover-Rijkse, Njathi, A., & de Cunto Bueno, D.(2021). Exploring the Material Conditions of Location-based Gameplay in the Global South. International Communication Association (ICA) conference, Mobile Communication Interest Group. Virtual. May. [Video]
Call for papers for a special issue of New Media & Society, Volume 24, 2022.
Guest editors (ordered alphabetically by last name):
• Scott W. Campbell, Constance F. and Arnold C. Pohs Professor of Telecommunications, Dept. of Communication and Media, University of Michigan
• Adriana de Souza e Silva, Professor, Dept. of Communication, North Carolina State University
• Leopoldina Fortunati, Professor, Dept. of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Physics, University of Udine
• Gerard Goggin, Professor, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University
In recent decades mobile communication has become central to how people navigate and experience everyday social life. As mobile phones diffused globally in the 1990s, scholars began investigating changes in how people relate to distant and proximal others, as well as the physical surroundings. Among the first was Rich Ling, a sociologist with one foot in industry and the other in academia. Throughout his career as a researcher with Norway’s Telenor Group and a faculty member at universities around the world, Rich Ling has contributed to the foundation of the emerging field of Mobile Media and Communication.
In light of Ling’s approaching retirement as an endowed professor at Nanyang Technological University, this special issue pays tribute to his scholarly contributions as we look to the future of mobile communication research. It is no stretch to suggest that Rich Ling is one of the most prolific and influential scholars of mobile communication. He wrote the first single-authored book on the social consequences of mobile communication, The Mobile Connection (2004, Morgan Kaufmann), which remains one of the most heavily cited volumes on the subject. His second book, New Tech, New Ties (2008, MIT Press) reveals how the ritualistic use of mobile media facilitates cohesion in the intimate sphere of friends and family. He extended this analysis in his subsequent book, Taken for Grantedness (2012, MIT Press), which offers a broader theoretical framework explaining how mobile communication has become embedded in the social structure. Along with these and other books, Ling has also published hundreds of journal articles, book chapters, and industry/policy reports on the uses and consequences of mobile media and communication.
In addition to his own scholarship, Rich Ling’s influence in the field is evident through his leadership, serving as editor of many volumes, editor of Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, and founding co-editor of the journal Mobile Media and Communication. Ling is also recognized for being a generous mentor, providing opportunities for new generations of scholars to become active in the field. As such, Rich Ling’s contributions not only shape the past but also strongly influence the future of mobile communication scholarship.
This special issue seeks papers that envision the future of mobile communication scholarship in the light of Ling’s contributions to research and theory. While articles should primarily raise and address questions about future scholarship in the field, they should also be, at least to some extent, grounded in some aspect of Ling’s work. Submissions can focus on different types of topics and approaches. Articles may centrally address future directions in research questions pursued, theory, methods, or other aspects of mobile communication scholarship. We are also open to different types of manuscripts, ranging from theoretical essays, empirical investigations, critical/cultural analysis, and other forms of scholarship.
Proposals of no more than 1,000 words should include a brief abstract and a clear explanation of the main argument and how the full submission would contribute to the aims of this special issue.
Please email your proposal to Future.of.Mobile.NMS@gmail.com no later than December 30, 2020. Authors can expect feedback on their proposal by February 1, 2021 and invited paper submissions will be due May 1, 2021. Invited submissions will undergo peer review following the usual procedures of New Media & Society. Approximately 10-12 papers will be sent out for full review. Therefore, the invitation to submit a full article does not guarantee acceptance into the special issue. Full articles will need to follow the New Media & Society submission guidelines. The special issue is scheduled for publication in Volume 24 of 2022.
Ling, R. (2004). The mobile connection: The cell phone’s impact on society. San Francisco, CA: Morgan Kaufman Publishers.
Ling, R. (2008). New tech, new ties: How mobile communication is reshaping social cohesion. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Ling, R. (2012). Taken for grantedness: The embedding of mobile communication into society. Cambridge, MA; MIT Press.