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Environment, Space, Place

Volume 2, Issue 2, Fall 2010

Robert Rosenberger
Pages 63-77
DOI: 10.7761/ESP.2.2.63

The Spatial Experience of Telephone Use

Ideas developed within the philosophical tradition of phenomenology can be used to describe the experience of talking on the phone. In particular, I build on a contemporary brand of phenomenology called “postphenomenology,” a school of thought which specializes in the analysis of the relationships that form between users and technologies. Three central concepts are reviewed and developed: transparency, sedimentation, and what I call “field composition.” These concepts can be used for the description of the way that the content of a telephone conversation can come to stand forward and capture a user’s overall field of awareness. I suggest that this account of the experience of the telephone can be useful for analyzing issues in scientific research and public policy regarding the topic of using the phone while driving.

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