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A Moveable Feast: Do Mobile Media Technologies Mobilize or Normalize Cultural Participation?

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Abstract

This research draws on national survey data in the United States to investigate the variation of mobile cultural participation by the access to mobile Internet devices, the intensity, diversity, and specific types of app use, sociodemographic characteristics, and in-person cultural participation. Results show that the access to mobile Internet devices and diverse app use, especially recreational and work-related app use, are positively related to mobile cultural participation. The Hispanic lead, the reversed educational gap, and the disappeared urban–rural divide in mobile cultural participation suggest that it offers members of disadvantaged groups a more accessible venue for cultural participation. The stronger relationships between mobile Internet devices, in-person and mobile cultural participation among the less educated support the mobilization thesis.

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