Gil Baptista Ferreira is Professor Coordinator at the Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, School of Education, and Director of the Degree in Social Communication of this School. Degree in Social Communication and Master in Communication Sciences from UBI, a PhD in Communication Sciences from the FCSH-UNL. He is a researcher at LabCom, Laboratory of Communication and Online Content (University of Beira Interior), and author of three books on communications and media. His fields of expertise are the sociology of new media and political communication.
Joining the Spheres: Smartphones Between Public and Private
The increasing use of social networks puts under a new perspective issues associated with the notions of public and private, and, among them, the issue of privacy. These issues take an added dimension with the share of information online, via mobile communication devices.
This article aims to understand the transformations of the notions of public and private in everyday life, taking as a focus of analysis the use of mobile communication devices. Specifically, concerning the smartphone, we will characterize the nature of the boundaries between public and private, permeated by new behaviors that raise new issues.
We´ll start revisiting the notions of public and private, in order to evaluate its application to “new situational geographies of social life” (Meyrowitz, 1986), to explore the following questions: in what terms is appropriate to think public and private today? How to conceptualize the distinction between these two spheres? And yet: how apply these concepts to the most common routines of everyday life?
Taking into account the data collected under the Public and Private in Mobile Communications Project, we’ll seek the answer for two main research questions: 1) still the notions of public and private present today? and 2) taking those notions as a frame, to what extent mobile phones contributes to a new way of thinking public and private? Will be evaluated, finally, the consistency between these data and the conceptualization proposed in the framework of this study.