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Uncertain digital geographies: mobile phones, young men and the negotiation of austerity in English seaside towns

Authors: Carl Bonner-Thompson*, University of Oxford
Topics: Social Geography, Gender
Keywords: austerity, digital geographies, young men, mobile phones, coastal towns.
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

While it is often assumed that everybody has access to digital technologies, the internet, smart phones and the skills to use them in the western world at present, access is uncertain or sporadic for some, including young working class men. In this paper, I explore the consequences of partial digital exclusion among 40 young men negotiating the uncertainties of austerity in four coastal towns in England. I examine the possession and use of mobile phones – their main way of accessing the internet - seeing the phone as both a material object with different values, meanings and capacities and as a way of maintaining connections to people and places. We situate the mobile phone in relations of power to highlight the complex relationships between digital technologies, austerity and place, arguing that the negotiation of uncertainty and austerity is increasingly digital.

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