Technology and the (re)Making of Work and Family: Towards a Performative Approach to Visual Practices

Monday, July 14, 2014: 4:15 PM
Room: 417
Distributed Paper
Natasha MAUTHNER , University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Karolina KAZIMIERCZAK , University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Our paper draws on a project funded by UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council that explores technology use in work and family practices in the home. Our study seeks to address a number of theoretical, methodological and substantive aims:
  1. To develop a conceptual framework for studying work/family/technology practices and boundaries in the home, drawing on material-semiotic, posthumanist, and performative approaches (Barad 2007; Haraway 1997; Law 2004; Suchman 2007)
  2. To explore how work/family/technology are figured – made and remade – through everyday social and technological practices (where social and technological are not treated as separate); 
  3. To develop and test a portfolio of methods, drawing on visual, sensory, mobile and participatory ethnographic approaches (Pink 2009, Pink and Leder Mackley 2012, Leder Mackley et al 2013; Watts and Urry 2008).  An important element of this process is to explore the performativity of these methods, that is, how they are constitutive of particular stories, or versions of reality (Law 2004, 2009; Law and Urry 2004).

Families (with at least one child under the age of 18) are invited to take part in the project as collaborators in the research by involving them in the selection of methods and production of artefacts. These methods include: a video tour of the home; using spaces, objects, photographs, and other artefacts to talk about work, family and technology; researcher- and respondent-regenerated photographs, films, scrap/smash books and diaries; individual and family interviews and conversations; and walk- or go-alongs as ways of participating in ‘A day in the life of …’ our participants.

Our paper will address emerging questions and challenges including: Whether and how visual methods can help us grasp sociomaterial practices; how we can analyse visual materials from a performative perspective; how we can use visual methods in participatory, collaborative and cooperative ways with our families.