‘Making Sense’ of Baby: Parenting, Technology, and the Politics of Touch
Drawing on an in-depth literature review, multimodal semiotic analysis of technological devices, and sensory interviews (Pink 2009) with designers and parent users, this paper explores what types and functions of touch are imagined and designed for in parent-baby/infant interaction, with analytical attention to the social and political discourses and stakes for communication. More specifically, we will address the following questions: how does the use of these technologies co-constitute and reimagine babies’ and parental bodies, their boundaries and (biological and/or physical, cultural and social) connections? How does this technological engagement with ‘bodies’ (e.g. ‘fetal bodies’) intersect with the ethics and politics of ‘start of life’? How are parent-baby/infant relationships disciplined through these technologies? How does technological design maintain, interpret, disrupt or generate new touch and sensory-affective practices and routines within parenthood?