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A theory of a theory of the smartphone

Miller, D; (2021) A theory of a theory of the smartphone. International Journal of Cultural Studies 10.1177/1367877921994574. Green open access

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This article addresses the consequences of theory in social science. It suggests that theory has become fetishized and contributes to class differentiation as most people are excluded from its increasingly obfuscating form. Fetishism implies that what used to be a means for clarifying and explaining the world has become an end in itself. This article presents an alternative approach to theory as de-fetishized, using as an example a recent attempt to theorize the smartphone. In this approach the processes of abstraction, generalization and de-contextualization that are required to create theory are negated through simultaneous illustration, re-contextualization and forms of highly accessible dissemination. Two examples are provided from our recent theorization of the smartphone, first as the Transportal Home and, second, as Beyond Anthropomorphism.

Type: Article
Title: A theory of a theory of the smartphone
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1367877921994574
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1367877921994574
Language: English
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage
Keywords: Class, digital anthropology, ethnography, smartphones, theory
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10124558
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