engage with each other and the world, even outside of these practices. It affects
politics, entertainment, and everyday life. (Gordon & de Souza e Silva, P. 172-
The profound transformation in contemporary life is fostered by the new “floating worlds” of
mobile devices and offer hope of “communal restoration” according to Kenneth Gergen:
As I proposed more recently (Gergen, 2002), it is in this context that the mobile
phone is of unusual importance. It is almost unique as a technology of
communal restoration. It offers the possibility for continuous and instantaneous
reconnection of participants within face-to-face groups. Within moments,
relationships are enlivened, common opinions and values shared, expressions of
support and mutual understanding enhanced, and knowledge of the other
depended. . .More broadly, it may be said, that the mobile phone has lent itself to
the pervasive state of an absent presence, the continuous presence at hand of
family, friends, and colleagues who are physically absent. (Gergen, 2002)
Our mobile worlds offer the capacity for distraction, but also for reinvention of relationship:
With the mobile phone the relational net is always at hand. Within moments a
floating relationship can be realized. And, seldom is one without the material
symbol of one’s relational ties. As a material object, the mobile phone function as
an icon of relationship, of techno-umbilical connection. The Enlightenment Paean
to individualism, ‘I think therefore I am’ is replaced with ‘I am linked therefore I am.
(Gergen, 2002)
The use of smart phones is already enhancing the ability for interdependent work
relationships and decreasing the need for as many onsite visits. Yet, many of the
freelancers in this project note that proximity to their client is essential but varies according
to the type of project. The human touch is still appreciated and valued (see Hallowell in A
Conversation About Negotiation and Sustainability).
The Why of Living With Liminality: An Appreciative View
So the question that comes to mind is why do these people decide to live in limbo when it
comes to work? Steven Tatar beautifully articulates “the why” of his freelance choice:
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