The Domestication of Ubiquitous Communication
Site of research: School of Social Sciences & Humanities, University of Tampere
Project director: Professor Pertti Alasuutari
Sponsor: Academy of Finland, Research Programme MOTIVE
Duration: 2009 - 2012
PhD Jari Aro
PhD, MS Jari Luomanen
MA Li Wang
Ubiquitous communication and information technology refer to those technical devices, services and practices which have become habituated elements of everyday life. Domestication of technology is the social and cultural process whereby technology is actively adopted and adjusted into everyday practices. When domesticating technology users familiarize themselves with it and choose and mould the ways it is used to fit their own particular needs and habits. At the same time they negotiate with their social and cultural environment about meanings and norms of using that technology; what are the proper ways of using it and what are not.
This research project will study the domestication of communication and information technology by comparing research materials from various cultural settings. Informant's experiences are observed and collected for one year. Information will be amassed by carrying out interviews and ethnographic observations of the informant's ways of using social media. The research group also provides the informants with Internet based services and invites them to take part in a social communication process where they can share their experiences, ideas and impressions of using technology.
This study contributes to basic research in social and cultural studies of technology as well as relevance for applied research and development of technology. Our aim is to generate conceptual knowledge of the social and cultural processes whereby new technology is being adopted to ubiquitous elements of everyday practices. Practices of domestication are studied at the levels of individuals, groups and social networks and also in relation to more a general social and cultural process. This project will also contribute to methodological development of social and cultural studies of technology by innovating and testing methods of collecting research materials.