TV or not TV? : contemporary experiences of digital television as a medium and technology for parents and children living in mediated homes
This thesis is an empirical study of digital television viewing and the use of media technology in the home in the context of contemporary parenting in the UK. It is concerned with the current diversity and complexity of the ways of accessing and viewing television content in the home, and how they are understood, experienced and practiced by parents in the context of family everyday life: the domestic space, daily routines, family communication and relationships, and most importantly, the practice of parenting. The thesis significantly expands the discussion of television consumption in the home by including wider aspects of digital television, such as the discussion of its diverse technologies - devices, services, applications and formats - and complex ways, in which these are negotiated, chosen and used by parents as a specific audience group on a daily basis. The study introduces the life course approach to the research into everyday media consumption, and examines parenting as a unique stage in the life course that alters multiple aspects of individuals’ everyday lives, including television viewing and other media practices. The findings of this study thus offer an original contribution to both the field of television studies, and the field of parenting studies. On the one hand, this study reveals that the role that television and media technology play in audience’s everyday life is specific to the stage in audience’s life course, with audiences appropriating television and media technology to suit their particular circumstances and experiences. And on the other hand, this study positions television and media technology as central to how parents experience, negotiate and deal with the everyday tasks of parenting, and to how they construct and manage their sense of parental identity.