Domesticating Feelings Through Short Message Service (SMS)

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Abstract

Starting from the ostentatious presence of the SMS for teenagers, I attempted to identify the values of its appropriation process and to outline the trajectory of SMS within teenage culture. My argument is that the SMS develops two interpenetrating usage trajectories: an individual and a collective line, the later bearing a marked cultural logic. The relation between the object of consumption and the individual is framed by specific values of usage and regulated by cultural practices. In this article, I will present the factors that regulate the individual usage of the SMS, incorporating this form of communication in teens’ universe. Through ethnographic fieldwork in Romania, I have carried out participant observation and interviews in places that are frequented by teenagers and I have collected and analyzed more than 300 text messages, written by teenagers in daily personal journals of communication.

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