From “Perpetual Contact” to Contextualized Mobility: Mobile Phones for Social Relations in Chinese Society
Yuan, Elaine J.
PublisherTaylor & Francis
MetadataShow full item record
This study charts culturally-shaped mobile communication in Chinese society. It finds that Chinese mobile users maintain an open network of contacts comprising not only private relations but work relations and peripheral social ties. Mobile phones are used to define and negotiate in-group membership, maintain social cohesion through mediated rituals, observe relational hierarchies, and preserve social harmony through the use of mobile etiquette defined along spatial, temporal and contextual dimensions. To the extent that mobile phones play into the particularistic, indirect and high-context patterns of Chinese social interaction and relation-oriented cultural norms, the Western mode of “perpetual contact” amongst private relations gives way to a contextualized mobility of diffuse personal ties.