Conclusions

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While many studies have drawn attention to the interplay between technology

and social practices in the context of mobile IT use, few studies have ventured

deeply into the social consequences of mobile IT. To date, very little relevant

and theory-informed research has been conducted on the social consequences

of mobile IT use, and most of the research that has been conducted has focused

on only limited and fragmented aspects of mobility. We must do better than that

in order to explore mobility and its consequences in full. To this end, this paper

echoes the call for theories of mobility expressed by Dahlbom & Ljungberg

(1999).

Bringing in social theories as tools to think with helps us to better understand

not only mobile IT applications but also their social contexts. It should be clear

that our minds are extended in space and time through the use of IT, once such

technologies have been digitized, and it seems as if human bodies to some extent

merge with these technologies (Haraway, 1989). Mobile IT use illustrates this

well, as the mobile IT user equipped with mobile IT application can be seen as

a “socio-technical hybrid” (Latour, 1993).

The fundamental challenge at hand is to explore in detail the nomadic nature of

mobile IT use – they move with us and should thus be understood as part and

parcel of the social. To this end, we suggest that ANT can play a role in better

making sense of the new socio-technical hybrids we are facing. Looking at the

problems identified in the MBT case, we can see how deeply intertwined the

social and the technical aspects are. First, the poor design hampered the

possibilities for ad-hoc activities. Second, the users felt that ad-hoc activities

could be seen as somewhat irresponsible in the context of banking business. To

this end, the problems related to the MBT use were both social and technical.

It is our hope that exploring these problems related to mobile IT use we also

shed new light on the possibilities and challenges that mobile IT use conveys.

If there is one thing that the discussion shows, it is that there were and still are

other ways to square the circle as long as some of the initial assumptions are

questioned. Mobile IT use includes local interpretations of the technology as

well as the values inscribed in the technology. Inscriptions in the technology do

not prescribe its use or how any particular use is to be promoted. Rather, they

are only a part of the whole package, and approaching mobile IT use from an

analytical position we should see to conduct an analysis in the light of situated

knowledge and partial perspectives in line with the ANT approach, and ask

what these inscriptions are and what their effects might be.