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Unlimited or disrupted communication? How does the development of the mobile phone effect our ability of social action?


  • Marie-Sophie Löhlein

    (IET, FCT-Universidade Nova de Lisboa)


The aim of this essay is to discuss the thesis of the German Sociologist Günter Burkhart that in modern societies a phenomenon appeared which he calls “handymania”, an excessive and nearly addictive use of the mobile phones especially from adolescents. After a short overview about the history of the cell phone, I will relate this development to Jürgen Habermas “theory of communicative action”, more precisely to his diagnosis of a pathological society (“lifeworld”) to find out if the “handymania” could be one expression of it. Adjacent I will present social-psychological theories from E.H.Erikson and Tilmann Habermas to ascertain whether juveniles could really be a high-risk group for this kind of addiction. I will focus on the ability to communicate in an Habermasian way that could be seriously harmed by the unregulated usage of cell phones.

Suggested Citation

  • Marie-Sophie Löhlein, 2009. "Unlimited or disrupted communication? How does the development of the mobile phone effect our ability of social action?," IET Working Papers Series 04/2009, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, IET/CICS.NOVA-Interdisciplinary Centre on Social Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology.
  • Handle: RePEc:ieu:wpaper:13

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    More about this item


    telecommunication; cell phones; youth behaviour; Habermas;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L96 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Telecommunications
    • Z19 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Other

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