Mobile headphone and technologically-mediated experience : the uses of privacy

流動耳機與科技中介經驗 : 個人隱私的應用

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

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  • Ho Ki Kattie FAN

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Awarding Institution
Award date16 Jul 2007


Beginning with a brief review of the notion of human-technology relationships, this dissertation suggests a holistic approach toward understanding the complex connection between media technologies and the corresponding mediated experience. The dissertation positions the study on mediated experience among other existing research on the topic of human-technology relationships through an investigation of an established, familiar media device, namely the headphone. The headphone is one of the central components connected to various forms of media gadgets, ranging from personal stereos and mobile phones to virtual-reality systems and wearable technologies. It is symbolic of mediated experience, links areas of the human body and technologies to converge into a unity. Being wired with a headphone is a cultural phenomenon that has stormed into our everyday life, yet studies on the headphone are strangely absent from media studies and cultural research. To rediscover the significance of headphone use is one way to understand the variety of human involvement with technology, as well as to grasp the essence of auditory mediated experience. This research offers an account of what is involved in the mediation, and presents a general theoretical landscape to help understand how various headphone uses define our contemporary life and leisure. It also explores the notion of privatization and emphasizes the complexities of the personalized listening practice as a cultural activity. Supported by a multi-method research strategy including a qualitative study with semi-structured interviews and a theoretical analysis on selected media artworks and innovative designs, this dissertation studies the actual headphone experience through its routine use and the potentialities of headphone-listening through its applications within the new-media environment. Its primary goal is to understand the privatized auditory experience resulting from technological mediation and how it affects our operation of everyday life, and ultimately to discover new possible experiences and to perceive the world differently.

    Research areas

  • Headphones, Privacy, Social aspects, Personal space, Psychological aspects