New technologies are profoundly reshaping the world around us. Home computers - unheard of two decades ago - now play an intimate role as personal possessions in many people's lives. For some, computer games may be vital to winding-down after a busy day, while for others the home computer represents only work or is a means through which to socialize in cyberspace. Powerfully symbolic of both future and present trends, computers are increasingly seen as essential home purchases. This book is the first sustained examination of the revealing role computers play in our domestic lives. Do computers cause or help to resolve arguments? What role does gender play in negotiating their use? Who spends the most time with the computer? How does the importance of home computers change as we move from childhood through careers to retirement? Drawing upon topical theories from material culture, technology and consumption studies, Lally traces the social life of these machines and provides unique insights into the many different ways in which they are transformed into highly personal possessions. The result is an absorbing account of everyday life in the information age. This book will be of interest to anthropologists, geographers, sociologists and anyone who wants to get to know how their home computer affects their family life.
Table of Contents
1 Introduction2 The Relationship of Ownership3 The Information Appliance4 Acquiring a Handle on the Future5 Computing in the Domestic Pattern of Life6 Temporal Rhythms of the Computerized Home7 Negotiations of Ownership8 Is the Home Computer Pink or Blue?9 The Domestic Ecology of Objects10 Machines for Living11 Constructing the Self through ObjectificationAppendix The Study ParticipantsBibliography
Elaine Lally is Assistant Director at the Institute for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney