Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 5-8-2020


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Communication and Rhetorical Studies


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Pat Arneson

Committee Member

Erik Garrett

Committee Member

Janie Harden Fritz


Mobile Communication, Perpetual Contact, Interpersonal Relationships, Meaningful Relationships, Connection and Disconnection, Dialogue


Mobile communication is embedded into our daily life increasing our connection to social networks. The development of mobile communication occurred during the second half of the twentieth century and has become domesticated into everyday life. One consequence of the widespread adoption of mobile communication device use is an increase in connectivity. This increase in connection has led to a shift in interpersonal relationships. People now must be aware of when to connect and disconnect to develop meaningful relationships in private, public, and social realms. This project seeks an understanding of how the consequence of increased connectivity and the development of the socio-logic of perpetual contact shapes interpersonal relationships. The project discusses concepts from relational dialectics theory, ideas from Hannah Arendt concerning technology relating to the human condition and private, public, and social realm, and dialogic ethics approach to using mobile communication. James E. Katz and Mark A. Aakhus’ theory of Apparatgeist provides a groundwork for understanding the consequences of mobile communication within the ‘Spirit’ of the historical moment. Mobile communication devices are a defining feature of contemporary life and should be used responsibly in a way that respects the importance of practicing dialogue and engaging in rhetorical listening and understanding.