Visual Representations of Digital Connectivities in Everyday Life

Monday, 11 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 42 (Main Building)
Distributed Paper
Wendy MARTIN, Brunel University London, United Kingdom
Katy PILCHER, Aston University, United Kingdom
This paper draws on data from the empirical study Photographing Everyday Life: Ageing, Lived Experiences, Time and Space funded by the ESRC, UK. The focus of the project was to explore the significance of the ordinary and day-to-day and focus on the everyday meanings, lived experiences, practical activities, and social contexts in which people in mid to later life live their daily lives. The research involved a diverse sample of 62 women and men aged 50 years and over who took photographs of their different daily routines to create a weekly visual diary. This diary was then explored through in-depth photo-elicitation interviews to make visible the rhythms, patterns and meanings that underlie habitual and routinised everyday worlds. The data was analysed using the software Atlas Ti. The analysis highlighted:  (1) the increasing importance of digital connectivities and the ways in which people in mid to later life actively engage (and resist) technologies of communication in their daily lives; (2) the significance of embodied co-presence and the immediacy of shared space and/or time; and (3) how narratives surrounding engagement (or not) with digital technologies both challenge and reinforce ideas about ageing (and youth) in complex and, at times, contradictory ways. Exploring the routines, meanings, and patterns that underpin everyday life has enabled us to make visible how people build, maintain and experience their social and virtual connections, and the ways in which digital devices and information technologies are being incorporated into (and resisted) within daily life.