Practice Theory and Media Infrastructures: "Infrastructural Disclosures" in Smartphone Use

Paolo Magaudda, Tiziana Piccioni

Abstract


The article concentrates on the contamination between practice theory and infrastructure studies by focussing on the routines and practices related to smartphone use. In order to address on an empirical ground the infrastructural implications of smartphone-based practices, the article presents the results of a qualitative research, based on a total of 26 qualitative interviews and one focus group with young smartphone users, residents of different cities of the Veneto Region in Italy. Theoretically, the article introduces the notion of infrastructural disclosure, which is adopted in the empirical analysis as an analytical tool to favour the visibility of infrastructural implications in smartphone practices. Infrastructural disclosures do not represent qualities of infrastructures but analytical strategies that bring to light the often “invisible” and “taken-for-granted” infrastructural qualities in smartphone use. On this basis, the article addresses five main dimensions of infrastructural disclosures in smartphone use: electricity, radio signal, data, operative systems and platforms. Finally, after the analysis of these five main infrastructural dimensions, the authors outline in the conclusion how a stronger emphasis on infrastructural relationships could improve our understanding of today’s digital media practices.

Keywords


Practice theory; Media infrastructure studies; Smartphone; Digital media; Infrastructural disclosures

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.1971-8853/9469

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