'We don't need no stinking smartphones!' Live stadium sports events, mediatization, and the non-use of mobile media

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31 Citations (Scopus)


The continuing institutional interpenetration of the sports, media, and digital technology industries makes professional sports an unlikely setting for protest against the use of media. Yet, major stadiums and arenas are serving as sites where the deepening reach and influence of media in lived social and cultural experiences are reflected upon and debated. Drawing upon the concept of mediatization, this article analyzes conflicts over the spread and use of smartphones by spectators during games, showing how the saturation of social spaces by mobile media is cause for objection by selected fans and sports powerbrokers. Strident calls to cease using smartphones are a response to intensifying levels of connectivity, enabled by the installation of sophisticated wireless communications networks and telecommunications services in stadiums and arenas. This situation is indicative of concerns about the link between the use of constantly connected mobile devices and an uneasy sense of being alone together in social life, with live stadium sports events idealized as moments where social connection can be forged through the non-use of mobile media and disconnection from telecommunications networks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420 - 436
Number of pages17
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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