The Coming Home of Post-Industrial Society

Thursday, 14 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 41 (Main Building)
Distributed Paper
Evelyn HONEYWILL, Macquarie University, Australia
The Internet and the perpetual state of connectivity that it supports are an indispensible part of late modern infrastructure from which no domain of society remains untouched. The home is not exempt from those transformations. In what is often termed post-industrial society, the home has come to operate as a space in which everyday private and public activities converge via the network; a domain in which individuals, institutions and markets assume common residency, routinely engaging in exchanges reflective of a post-industrial service economy. Does the omnipresence of personal mobile technologies teamed with the relentless requirement for connectivity alter the understanding, space and “feeling” of home?  How does the home as private sphere transform in the context of universally accessible global information and communication networks?  Has the home been technologically expanded or colonised? In late modernity the concept of ‘home’ becomes ambiguous.  On the one hand, home represents a private sphere that is increasingly accessible to and accessed by digital networks and their users; an environment in which individuals routinely share the private with a public.  On the other hand, in the network society home finds an extended representation in the digital space, it evolves into intangible locations in which the private transcends into the public; a private environment in which individuals routinely contribute to and engage with whilst in public.  As I argue here, these dynamics can be conceptualised with the term the post-industrial home. With this concept I open up and situate the home as a transformed and evolving space of sociological interest. Discussion explores themes including solitude, belonging, privacy, identity, the family and work, and is supported with current empirical findings.