Rapid diffusion of mobile phones in the last two decades has made mobile communication a part of everyday life of most people. Ever more areas, both public and private, are inevitably confronted with the technology. These encounters have given rise to divergent views. Side by side with the words of praise, critical voices have been raised because of what are perceived as dangers and misuses of the mobile phone.
In the light of the above this thesis explores the concepts “public” and “private” related to the introduction of the mobile technology. In this connection I examine how the boundaries of the public/private dichotomy are being negotiated by the involved parties in order to reach an agreement on what constitutes appropriate mobile behaviour. I look into how mobile users utilise the technical possibilities of the mobile phone and develop bodily strategies to manoeuvre more frictionless in public spaces. I also investigate the conflicts that arise in connection with these negotiations. Since norms guide our behaviour in all areas of life, I finally examine how norms of mobile use are constructed and to what extent formal regulations play a role when negotiating the boundaries.
When assessing the above, I employ an interdisciplinary approach that encompasses insights from various disciplines, such as sociology, ethnomethodology, media studies and science and technology studies. Qualitative interviews, observations and breaching experiments form cornerstones of the fieldwork.
Key words: mobile communication, the mobile phone, appropriate and inappropriate mobile behaviour, the public/private dichotomy, boundary-work, boundary negotiations, displacement of boundaries, blurring of boundaries, norm construction and formal regulations.