Mobile Media (Non-)Use as Expression of Agency

Arul Chib*, Ming Wei Ang, Gabrielle C. Ibasco, Hoan Nguyen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The literature on mobile media and marginalized groups has focused on the use of mobile media as an agentic, visible, and varied process related to individual empowerment. Conversely, nonuse is often presupposed to be a passive, invisible condition imposed by sociostructural forces. Our paper challenges this binary, positing that mobile media (non-)use can be an expression of agency motivated in response to structural constraints. We posit that (non-)use strategies span two dimensions: contextual-absolute and visible-invisible. Firstly, (non-)use does not always involve the complete absence of mobile media and may manifest in gradations that vary by sociostructural context. Secondly, certain (non-)use strategies may be less visible, and in turn, less likely to invite a sociostructural response, while more visible strategies risk inviting retaliation. We apply this conceptual lens to the context of cisfeminine (n = 17) and transfeminine (n = 17) sex workers in Singapore, who experience intersectional marginalization due to their gender identity, occupation, and migrant status. From our interviews, we develop a provisional typology of mobile media (non-)use strategies that offers insight into the complexities of (non-)use strategies in leading to (dis)empowerment and social transformation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)818-842
Number of pages25
JournalMass Communication and Society
Volume24
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to The Project X team for connecting us with the sex worker community in Singapore. Special thanks to Yingqin Zheng for assistance in the fieldwork. We thank our anonymous participants for sharing their stories. This project is supported in part by a grant from Wee Kim Wee School for Information and Communication, Nanyang Technological University.

Funding Information:
This study was funded by a grant from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University. We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to The Project X team for connecting us with the sex worker community in Singapore. Special thanks to Yingqin Zheng for assistance in the fieldwork. We thank our anonymous participants for sharing their stories. This project is supported in part by a grant from Wee Kim Wee School for Information and Communication, Nanyang Technological University.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Mass Communication & Society Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Mobile Media (Non-)Use as Expression of Agency'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this