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TOOLS OF THE TRADE: DRUGS, LAW AND MOBILE PHONES

Rhonda N. McEwen

(Submission #31)


Summary

As a specific form of collaborative computing, mobile phones are changing the way people use and perceive their social contexts both at work and at play. Observations of mobile phone use in urban settings suggest that this medium can facilitate existing social networking practices and extend our everyday activities to create a set of distinct social practices associated with this Information and Communication Technology. In particular mobile phones support users in the active production of identities, whether these identities are socially determined to be “normal” or “deviant”. Written from a Social Informatics perspective this paper examines the mobile phone as a collaborative communications technology in the context of its use in illegal drug-dealing and the law enforcement of those practices. The relationship between illegal drug-dealing and law enforcement responses is critically analysed highlighting the way both groups utilise mobile phone technologies to achieve their divergent goals. The paper concludes by offering a perspective on the social nature of mobile communications and suggestions for further research and action.


  
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