Portable music device use on trains: A 'splendid isolation'?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mobile or portable music devices have infiltrated everyday life. Walking down the street of the contemporary city, we are often faced with individuals who are able to experience the world around them visually, but, through the use of iPods and other portable music devices, no longer experience the aural world around them. This paper considers the social understandings derived from the use of portable music devices by exploring empirical evidence collected in interviews with individuals who both own and use portable music devices, as well as those who do not. Drawing upon the specific example of metropolitan train travel in Melbourne, Australia, this paper argues that individuals who use portable music devices ascribe divergent meanings to the use of these devices when compared with fellow commuters who do not use these technologies. This paper also probes the notion that portable music device use is a socially isolationist practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-59
Number of pages11
JournalAustralian Journal of Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


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