Domestication of Media and Technology

Domestication of Media and Technology

Domestication of Media and Technology

Domestication of Media and Technology


This book provides an overview of a key concept in media and technology studies: domestication. Theories around domestication shed light upon the process in which a technology changes its status from outrageous novelty to an aspect of everyday life which is taken for granted. The contributors collect past, current and future applications of the concept of domestication, critically reflect on its theoretical legacy, and offer comments about further development. The first part of Domestication of Media and Technology provides an overview of the conceptual development and theory of domestication. In the second part of the book, contributors look at a diverse range of empirical studies that use the domestication approach to examine the dynamics between users and technologies. These studies include:Mobile information and communications techologies (ICTs) and the transformation of the relationship between private and the public spheresHome-based internet use: the two-way dynamic between the household and its social environmentvDisadvantaged women in Europe undertaking introductory internet coursesUrban middle-class families in China who embrace ICTs and view them as instruments of upward mobility and symbols of successThe book offers valuable insights for both experienced researchers and students looking for an introduction to the concept of domestication. Contributors: Maria Bakardjieva, University of Calgary; Thomas Berker, Norwegian University of Science and Technology; Leslie Haddon, Essex University; Maren Hartmann, University of Erfurt; Deirdre Hynes, Dublin City University; Sun Sun Lim, National University of Singapore; Anna Maria Russo Lemor, University of Colorado at Boulder; David Morley, Goldsmiths College, University of London; Jo Pierson, TNO-STB, Delft, Netherlands; Yves Punie, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) in Seville; Els Rommes, Nijmegen University; Roger Silverstone, London School of Economics and Political Science; Knut H. Sørensen, Norwegian University of Science and Technology; Katie J. Ward, University of Sheffield.


Thomas Berker, Maren Hartmann, Yves Punie, Katie Ward

This book is about the 'domestication' of media and technology. Domestication is a concept within media and communications studies, but also within studies of the sociology of technology that has been developed to describe and analyse processes of (media) technology's acceptance, rejection and use. The emergence of the domestication concept represented a shift away from models which assumed the adoption of new innovations to be rational, linear, monocausal and technologically determined. Rather, it presented a theoretical framework and research approach, which considered the complexity of everyday life and technology's place within its dynamics, rituals, rules, routines and patterns. This work was developed in several, mostly European (specifically, British and Scandinavian), countries over the last twenty years. Crucial to the development and application of the concept were several factors. One of them was the funding of European research networks that actively developed and embraced a domestication approach.

We would like to acknowledge that without these networks, particularly EMTEL (European Media, Technology and Everyday Life), in both its phases, this book would not have been written. EMTEL I was funded by the European Commission and ran from 1995 until 1998 under the 4th Framework 'Human Capital and Mobility' programme and later as EMTEL II, from 2000 until 2004, as a research and training network under the 5th Framework programme 'Improving the Knowledge Potential'. This book is the result of our involvement and research in the EMTEL network and it not only looks back at the origins of the concept, but also applies and develops it in the present-day (and future) context. The book is also unique in its critical engagements and reflections on the domestication concept, as well as in its range and depth of engagement with recent empirical material. It is the first of its kind and as such we hope it will not disappoint the reader. Not every author in this book has been directly involved with the EMTEL network, but all of them have critically reflected upon it, and – in one way or another – discussed or applied the domestication concept.

Whether this concept was once, is still, and will be useful in the future to help to understand what happens with media and technology when they are acquired and used, is the focus of discussion for the . . .

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