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Title: Technology and the family car : situating media use in family life
Author: Cycil, Chandrika Ruth
ISNI:       0000 0004 5919 2895
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2016
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The thesis describes how family life is organised in the car, with a particular focus on exploring the role and use of mobile technology in this setting. The objective of this research is to use the insights from video ethnographic data collected with families to discuss how social interaction between family members may be situated to technology use. Drawing from the notion of ‘ordinary work’ discussed in ethnomethodology and applying this to naturalistic video data of families in cars, the thesis demonstrates how family activities are locally produced, drawing on background knowledge and common-sense understandings of family members’ work. Using methods from conversation analysis, the research demonstrates how transcribed instances of talk can reveal how parents and children produce their actions and talk to jointly produce activities in relation to media use. The analysis presented in this thesis demonstrates how the family car provides an opportunity for parents and children to come together, and engage in mundane family activities of talk and play while using a range of mobile devices. The thesis draws on richly documented and closely analysed episodes of interaction to demonstrate how family life unfolds in the accomplishment of activities in which interactions are situated, orderly and observable. The production of family life within the car involves talk and embodied action that is artfully placed within interactions between parents, children and technology. The analysis elucidates how the features of negotiation, collaboration and coordination around device-use are placed alongside driving activities. The contributions of this thesis lie in providing a descriptive analysis of the social organisation of family life through technology, developing an understanding of family technology use in a mobile context and highlighting elements of interaction that will inform the development of insights for the design of technology that is sensitive to the nuances of family life, mobility and technology practices.
Supervisor: Perry, M. ; Laurier, E. Sponsor: EPSRC ; Microsoft Research
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Video ethnography ; Ethnomethodology ; Family car ; Fieldwork for design