Call for papers for workshop – From SMS to Smartphones: Tracing the Impact and Developmental Trajectory of the Mobile Phone in Asia

Call for papers for workshop
From SMS to Smartphones:
Tracing the Impact and Developmental Trajectory
of the Mobile Phone in Asia

(DEADLINE: 15 September 2011)

Asia is widely regarded as a region that has enthusiastically embraced information technology. This observation is especially true of the region’s adoption and appropriation of the mobile phone. The affordability, versatility and ubiquity of the mobile phone has had a discernible impact on Asia. It has been widely deployed in virtually every aspect of everyday life, be it in commerce, politics, governance, education, religion, entertainment or recreation. Various noteworthy uses and ground-breaking applications of the mobile phone have emerged from both urban and rural parts of Asia. Going beyond the use of more basic mobile phone models and features, the smartphone, in particular, is diffusing through Asia at a rate exceeding the rest of the world. Bringing the idea of the ubiquitous web to fruition, the smartphone’s heightened connectivity and thriving app market are birthing yet more revolutionary uses of the mobile phone. While the rising adoption of the smartphone burgeons with potential for civic action, commercial enterprise, employment and educational opportunities and social service provision, challenges are also emerging for consumers, industries and governments alike.

Despite the significance of mobile phones in the Asian landscape, research on this topic  has been shaped by studies on the US and Scandinavia, while research on Asia is growing, but in its nascent stages. This workshop seeks to address the imbalance by bringing together researchers who are studying mobile phone trends in Asia and collectively, workshop participants will discuss and deliberate over the global implications of their research findings and the developmental trajectory of the mobile phone. The workshop aims to be multi-disciplinary and compact, comprising up to fifteen speakers who will have the opportunity for sustained discussion and engagement over two days.  The workshop will be held at the Department of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore from 13-14 February 2012. Selected papers will be developed and included in a special journal issue or edited volume.

Set within the Asian context, the workshop seeks to address questions including, but not limited to the following:

  • does a digital divide exist in Asia with regard to mobile phone penetration and usage trends and if so, how can and should they be remedied?
  • what are the implications of the development of mobiles — especially smartphones and mobile Internet — for contemporary media in Asia?
  • how is the growing proliferation of the smartphone facilitating unprecedented forms and scales of communication?
  • how are the location based services offered by smartphones altering user behaviour?
  • how does mobile Internet use complement and possibly complicate fixed location Internet use?
  • what implications does the growth of smartphone apps have for the cultural complexion of Asian countries?
  • to what extent do smartphones and the behaviour which they enable test the boundaries of existing regulatory frameworks?
  • how does the rising ubiquity of the smartphone and by implication, that of always-on, always-available Internet access challenge prevailing theoretical frameworks relating to inter alia, technology acceptance, mobility, communication, social influence and identity?


We invite those interested in participating in the workshop to submit original paper proposals which should include a title, an abstract of 500 words, a short biography of 250 words, and should be submitted using the Paper Proposal Submission Form. Please submit your proposal to Sun Sun Lim at by 15 September 2011. Papers that have been selected will be notified by 30 September 2011. If accepted, the full paper must be submitted by 30 November 2011. Based on the quality of proposals and the availability of funds, partial or full funding is available for successful applicants. Full funding would cover air travel to Singapore by the most economical means, plus board and lodging for the duration of the workshop. Priority for funding will be accorded to applicants who are based in Asia.


Workshop Convenors

Associate Professor Sun Sun LIM (
Department of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore

Prof Gerard GOGGIN (
Department of Communications, University of Sydney