Why people say where they are during mobile phone calls

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An often-noticed feature of mobile phone calls is some form of 'geographical' locating after a greeting has been made. The author uses some singular instances of mobile phone conversations to provide an answer as to why this geolinguistic feature has emerged. In an examination of two real cases and a vignette, some light is shed on a more classical spatial topic, that of mobility. During the opening and closing statements of the paper a short critique is put forward of the 'professionalisation' of cultural studies and cultural geography and their ways of theorising ordinary activities. It is argued that a concern with theory construction effectively distances such workers from everyday affairs where ordinary actors understand in practical terms and account competently for what is going on in their worlds. This practical understanding is inherent in the intricacies of a conversational 'ordering', which is at one and the same time also an ordering of the times and spaces of these worlds. By means of an indifferent approach to the 'grand theories' of culture, some detailed understandings of social practices are offered via the alternatives of ethnomethodological and conversational investigations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-504
Number of pages20
JournalEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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