1 Digital Culture and Mobile Communication, The Department2 North Carolina State University3 North Carolina State University
The concept of the virtual along with the philosophical traditions it invokes has received sparse attention in the communication literature, even though the term “virtual” is used so readily to refer to new information and communication technologies (ICTs). In this article, we argue that philosophies of the virtual that dichotomize reality/representation, although perhaps sufficient for analyzing human–computer interfaces through the 21st century, are inadequate for developing theoretical approaches to understanding location-based technologies. We thus summarize different philosophies of the virtual to propose a theoretical framework for the study of locative technologies. We do so to open up an understanding of the practical effects of locative technologies in lived experience and use examples of that experience to show motivations for shifts in theory.