Investigating smartphones—there’s a theory for that: smartphones as an assemblage and apparatus

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Coulling, Ryan
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This thesis is an autoethnographic investigation of smartphones. Employing a theoretical framework that views smartphones as an apparatus, I explore smartphones, the connections they make to others and to digital technology, the way they are altering space and time, the micro-physics of power that they employ, and their ability to provide agency. Cycling between autoethnographic vignettes and theory, I explain rhizomatic assemblages that are apparatuses while advocating for the adoption of this conceptual framework when examining the social aspects of smartphones. Within this framework I conclude that these devices can be liberating and binding at the same time, and that, if we seek to better understand and engage in algorithmic language, we will be better equipped to take advantage of points of rupture to create lines of flight that allow us to deterritorialize our social world in ways that afford us the most agency.
Smartphones, apparatus, autoethnography, technology