• On the “look” and the “gaze” of cell phones
  • Ian Reyes, Nikhilesh Dholakia, Jennifer K. Bonoff
  • Marketing Theory, November 2014, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/1470593114558535

Lacan and Mobile Phones... Whod've Thunk? Innovative psychoanalytic look at mobile tech

What is it about?

Observing public cell phone use, we offer a Lacanian theorization of common social scenes involving mobile communication technologies. We turn to Lacan’s distinction between the look and the gaze to read and reconcile the tensions. Moving beyond understanding cell phones as fetish objects, we use Lacan’s theory of the gaze as a means to understand the existential dilemma, a lack of being, which underwrites the pleasures of consumption.

Why is it important?

Interesting and important how connections work: Lead author Ian Reyes, during his dissertation phase, worked with Henry Krips, the leading (if not the most important) Lacan scholar on the Western side of the Atlantic. When Nikhilesh Dholakia (who works collaboratively with Ian) found this MT special issue opportunity, Ian said he could bring in Lacan concepts he had learned under Krips. Without such an influence chain, this paper would not have been possible.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Nikhilesh Dholakia