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The consumption of the Internet in household families

Waller, Vivienne

Description

This thesis examines the consumption of the Internet by household families. It is based on data collected in Canberra; 689 responses to a self-completion survey to parents on attitudes to, and use of, the Internet and more than 75 interviews with members of 19 household families who had the Internet connected at home. My project is not a test of existing theories about socio-technical networks in a domestic setting nor is it purely descriptive. Rather my intention is to generate theory...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorWaller, Vivienne
dc.date.accessioned2018-02-19T02:57:11Z
dc.date.available2018-02-19T02:57:11Z
dc.identifier.otherb20829802
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/140933
dc.description.abstractThis thesis examines the consumption of the Internet by household families. It is based on data collected in Canberra; 689 responses to a self-completion survey to parents on attitudes to, and use of, the Internet and more than 75 interviews with members of 19 household families who had the Internet connected at home. My project is not a test of existing theories about socio-technical networks in a domestic setting nor is it purely descriptive. Rather my intention is to generate theory from the data drawing on Glaser and Strauss's (1967) strategy of grounded theory. My approach to the data draws from symbolic interactionism which has the premise that people act on the basis of the meanings that things have for them. It is also feminist in that I pay attention to issues of gender. My central argument is that the Internet, the family and the self are performative. Through an empirical examination of the intersecting performances of the family and the self with the performance of the Internet, I show that there is nothing stable or natural about a particular version of the Internet, family or self. Each is constituted through its own performance and each performance impinges upon the other. My analysis of peoples’ stories about their everyday use of the Internet shows that the nature of the intersection is complex and cannot be predicted by looking at characteristics of the Internet, the family or the self in isolation. I draw from Science and Technology Studies to demonstrate that the Internet’s performance varies within and between households in complex and contradictory ways. I build on existing work by Silverstone (1996) to develop a model for characterising the performance of the Internet in domestic consumption. With regard to the family, I look at how home use of the Internet is implicated in debates about the changing nature of the family. Rather than giving any specific sociological meaning to the term ‘family’, I have used the term to refer to the way that groups of individuals who understand themselves as forming a family enact that understanding in their daily life. Drawing on studies of consumption and enlisting Bourdieu’s concept of cultural capital, I also analyse how people mobilise the Internet as a resource for the performance of self.
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.titleThe consumption of the Internet in household families
dc.typeThesis (PhD)
dcterms.valid2001
local.type.degreeDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
local.identifier.doi10.25911/5d6e493750215
local.mintdoimint
CollectionsOpen Access Theses

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