“AND MY MICROWAVE IS A FOX”

Reading this paper :

“AND MY MICROWAVE IS A FOX”

Reflecting domestic environments and technologies by means of selfdocumentation packages

F. Sudweeks and C. Ess (eds). Proceedings Cultural Attitudes Towards
Communication and Technology 2004, Murdoch University, Australia, 211-225.

link and  Excerpts:

Abstract

The paper investigates the role of domestic technologies in constructing conceptions of home. Rich qualitative data on Finnish households is analyzed in order to clarify the processes through which particular domestic objects and devices get their meanings. Interactions and atmosphere of the contemporary media-rich home are defined through the dynamics between private and public,
individual and cultural and personal and familial. The paper highlights the
significance of shared domestic media technology in defining and negotiating the
domestic territories between household members. Also the varied spatial orders in
relation to placing domestic devices are discussed. (…)

Living in Metamorphosis – Control and Awareness in a Proactive Home Environment
(Morphome) is an ongoing research project funded by The Finnish Academy Research
Programme on Proactive Computing. The key challenge of the project is to develop
design principles for proactive home applications. The objective is connected with
exploring the ways how the design of these new technologies can support existing
domestic values
(see also Hemmings et al. 2002). This kind of knowledge can be
acquired only through exploring home as a social and cultural, as well as material
environment. (…) Through generating new knowledge of the meanings attached to domestic technology – both existing and forthcoming – we wish to produce a more holistic view on the research of ‘proactive computing’ devised to be used in home environments. Although Morphome project as a whole includes technology and concept development objectives the “cultures of home” subproject introduced here is supposed to produce more general knowledge on the domestication
of new technologies and technologization of the home
. (…)The analysis sets twofold objectives. The first objective is to see what are the key elements and actions people associated with home and what is the role of domestic media appliances and other technologies in these conceptions. What we want to avoid, is the technology-driven perspective where home life is simplified into a continuum of interactions with various appliances. The other objective is to study how emphatic design methods can be applied to produce understanding of users and use situations of
domestic technology. We believe the results can be of interest for both the emerging field of user culture studies and more comprehensive ethnographic studies of home. Researching (use) cultures of homes is a challenging task because cultures of home are diverse and dynamic: the dialectics between private and public, individual and cultural, personal and familial, production and consumption, are continuously defined and re-evaluated.(…) studies asking how information and communication technologies actually influence on everyday domestic life, how domestic space affects user experiences of information networks or how people perceive their relationships to these technologies have not been in a focus in the Finnish research (see Talja and Tuuva 2003; Rantanen and Lehtinen 1997; Paasonen 1998). On the whole, qualitative research on contemporary western domestic space, everyday domestic practices and roles of technology within home, is also scarce (cf. Cieraad 1999; Hughes and al. 1998). If we want to understand cultures of contemporary homes more thoroughly we should approach them as dynamic social and material entities in which both culturally shared and particular notions and practices
meet. Hutchinson and al. (2003) propose conventional methods used in human computer interaction (HCI) research do not necessarily work very well in approaching complex personal everyday environments people live in.

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