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Context-aware computing is characterized by the software's ability to continuously adapt its behavior to an environment over which it has little control. This style of interaction is imperative in ad hoc mobile networks that consist of numerous mobile hosts coordinating opportunistically via transient wireless connections. In this paper, we provide a formal abstract characterization of an application's context that extends to encompass a neighborhood within the ad hoc network. We provide a context specification mechanism that allows individual applications to tailor their operating contexts to their personalized needs. We describe a context maintenance protocol that provides this context abstraction in ad hoc networks through continuous evaluation of the context. This relieves the application developer of the obligation of explicitly managing mobility and its implications on behavior. We also characterize the performance of this protocol in ad hoc networks through simulation experiments. Finally, we examine real-world application examples demonstrating its use.