Impact of Cell Phones

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The usage of cellular phones has become ubiquitous in our American society, illustrating the growing effects of technology on our advancing society. It is nearly impossible to imagine entering any public setting without encountering at least one person using a cell phone because this has become a part of normal, everyday life. The benefits to mobile communication are numerous; however, many would argue that the detriments are abundant as well. An impartial view of the effects of cell phone use would still reveal that an evolution in society has been caused by and is still occurring because of cell phones. New methods of communication inevitably will lead to a change in social behavior. This paper will explore the changes that have occurred since the introduction of cell phones and evaluate the significance of these changes towards American culture using the four major theoretical perspectives in sociology: symbolic interactionism, functional analysis, conflict theory, and feminism. The main focus of symbolic interactionism is on the subjective aspects of life, such as social interaction, rather than on large social structures, which is why this level of analysis is considered to be microsociology. Henslin defines symbolic interactionism as “a theoretical perspective in which society is viewed as being composed of symbols that people use to establish meaning, develop their views of the world, and communicate with one another.” (22) The term symbols refers to more than simply what can be seen or touched, including more abstract ideas such as language and the labels that are placed on people and things. For the purpose of this discussion of symbolic interactionism, however, cell phones will be addressed primarily as objects. Since being introduced to the public in the early 1980s, cell phones have been a status symbol, though the exact meaning of that symbol has changed along with the technology. The first cell phones were hardly attractive. Large, bulky and heavy,...
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