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Locating the Mobile:
Intergenerational Locative Media Practices in Tokyo, Melbourne and Shanghai

Location-based services have become an integral part of the convergence between mobile and social media. Replacing the navigation of place from paper to digital maps has transformed how we experience and conceptualise online and offline relationships across corporate, governmental, familial and personal realms. From providing convenience at a fingertip to helping criminal investigations, using locative media has become an essential part of everyday life for individuals, families, communities, businesses and government agencies. For some, the locative media can help in new forms of surveillance; for others, this phenomenon represents a new epoch in rethinking privacy.

Taking the family as emblematic of broader socio-cultural nuances and intergenerational practices, Locating the Mobile provides the first study into how locative media are shaping, and being shaped by, practices and experiences of intimacy and privacy in intergenerational families. By deploying three key sites in the locative media adoption (Tokyo, Shanghai and Melbourne), Locating the Mobile also offers the first in-depth case study of cross-cultural and intergenerational use of locative media over three years. These three different cultural, urban and national contexts offer an ideal opportunity for a comparison. They represent three different configurations in the adoption of locative media, provide examples of the uneven development of locative media, its uses and its intergenerational uptake, demonstrate divergent generational mobile media literacies, and are characterised by dissimilar family forms. By contrasting these three divergent techno cultures, Locating the Mobile produces new insights into mobile media as part of emerging twenty-first century everyday cultural practices.