Major Leaders in the Field

The field of mobile communication could be said to have been established in 1999 with the “Perpetual Contact” workshop that was held at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Since that time, the number of scholars engaged in mobile communication has mushroomed from a mere handful of pioneers to today’s thousands of dedicated researchers from every continent (even, on occasion, Antarctica).

Although even a moderately fair listing of scholars who have made important contributions is too large to be included in this format, it is possible to identify some of the field leaders. Among this number would be:

Naomi Susan Baron is a linguist who is interested in writing about technology, language acquisition, language in social context, and the history of English. Professor Baron taught at several universities before joining American University in 1987. She is currently on the editorial boards of The Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Language Sciences, and Visible Language, as well as Director of the American University TESOL Program (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Professor Baron is the author of several books, including the award-winning book Alphabet to Email: How Written English Evolved and Where It’s Heading (Routledge, 2000), Growing Up with Language: How Children Learn to Talk (Addison-Wesley, 1992), Pigeon-Birds and Rhyming Words: The Role of Parents in Language Learning (Prentice-Hall, 1990), Computer Languages: A Guide for the Perplexed (Doubleday, 1986), Speech, Writing, and Sign (Indiana University Press, 1981), and Language Acquisition and Historical Change (North-Holland, 1977).

Scott W. Campbell is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Pohs Fellow of Telecommunications at the University of Michigan. Professor Campbell’s research explores the social implications of new media, with an emphasis on mobile telephony. His current projects examine how mobile communication patterns are linked to both the private and public spheres of social life, such as social networking and civic engagement. Several of these projects use a comparative approach to situate the role of mobile communication technology in the larger media landscape.

Jonathan Donner is a researcher in the Technology for Emerging Markets Group at Microsoft Research India. His primary research interests concern the economic and social implications of the spread of mobile telephony in the developing world. Previously, he was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and worked with Monitor Company and The OTF Group, consultancies in Boston, MA. His Ph.D. is from Stanford University in Communication Research.

Leopoldina Fortunati is professor of Sociology of Communication at the University of Udine, Department of Economics, Society and Territory. She has conducted several research in the field of gender studies, cultural processes and communication and information technologies. She is very active at European level especially in COST networks. Her works have been published in eleven languages: Bulgarian, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Slovenian, Spanish.

Gerard Goggin is Professor of Digital Communication and deputy-director, Journalism and Media Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. He is widely published on mobiles, Internet, and new media, with key books including Global Mobile Media (2010), Mobile Technologies: From Telecommunications to Media (2009; with Larissa Hjorth), Internationalizing Internet Studies (2009; with Mark McLelland), Cell Phone Culture (2006), Virtual Nation: The Internet in Australia (2005), and Digital Disability (2003; with Christopher Newell). Current projects include: youth and mobile; mobile Internet; Internet histories; and a collection on Place and Mobiles (with Rowan Wilken).

Joachim Hoflich is Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Erfurt in Germany. His research focuses on the use and impact of mobile communication in mediating interpersonal relationships.

James E. Katz is an internationally recognized scholar of communication technology. His work on social aspects of technologies includes the edited collection Machines that Become Us: The Social Context of Personal Communication Technology (Transaction, 2002); Connections: Social & Cultural Studies of the Telephone in American Life (Transaction, 1999), Perpetual Contact (Cambridge, 2002, co-edited with Mark Aakhus) and Social Consequences of Internet Use (MIT Press, 2003, co-authored with Ron Rice). Professor Katz frequently grants interviews to the media, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, ABC’s 20/20, and All Things Considered. Prior to Rutgers University, Professor Katz headed the social science research unit at Bell Communications Research, a spin-off of Bell Labs. Professor Katz is the founding director of Center for Mobile Communication Studies at Rutgers, which is the world’s first academic unit to focus solely on social aspects of mobile communication.

Ilpo Koskinen’s main interest in technology research is in studying mobile multimedia in use, including photographs as well as audio and video clips sent via mobile phones. In particular, his interests are in user-generated content. This type of research focuses on how interaction evolves in use, message by message. He typically works on technology-in-the-making rather than products in the marketplace. Professor Koskinen holds a Ph.D. in sociology from University of Helsinki, Finland.

Christian Licoppe is Professor of sociology at Lancaster University. Trained in history and sociology of science and technology, he is currently the head of the Social Science department at Telecom Paristech, after a stretch in industrial research, where he managed social science research at Orange R&D. Professor Licoppe has used mobile geolocation and communication data to analyze mobility and sociability patterns of mobile phone users. He is also interested from a social and juridical perspective in the way systems based on Bluetooth recognition of proximate mobile terminals may provide serendipitous opportunities for spurious and enriched encounters.

Richard Ling is a sociologist and senior researcher for Telenor’s R & D division, located in Kjeller Norway. He received his PhD in sociology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He taught at the University of Wyoming in Laramie before going to Norway on a Marshall Foundation grant. Since that time, he has worked at the Gruppen for Ressursstudier (the resource study group) funded by Jergan Randers and has been a partner in a small consulting firm, Ressurskonsult, which focused on studies of energy, technology, and society. Since 1994, Dr. Ling has worked at Telenor, focusing on researching issues associates with new information technology and society. He is the author of an impressive volume entitled, The Mobile Connection (2004).

Kristóf Nyíri is a member of HAS, was a guest at the University of Leipzig in the Winter Semester of 2006-2007 as Leibniz Professor, directed Communications in the 21st Century: The Mobile Information Society from 2001 to 2010 and is a Professor of Philosophy, in the Department of Technical Education, at Budapest University of Technology and Economics. He has written and edited more than 200 articles, chapters, reports and books.

Barry Wellman studies networks: community, communication, computer, and social. His research examines virtual community, the virtual workplace, social support, community, kinship, friendship, and social network theory and methods. Based at the University of Toronto, he directs NetLab, is the S.D. Clark Professor at the Department of Sociology, is a member of the Cities Centre, and the Knowledge Media Design Institute, and is a cross-appointed member of the Faculty of Information. He is the co-author of the prize-winning Networked: The New Social Operating System (with Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project) published by MIT Press in Spring 2012. The book analyzes the social nature of networked individualism, growing out of the Social Network Revolution, the Internet Revolution, and the Mobile Revolution.