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Asymmetries in Asian Families’ Domestication of Mobile Communication

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Abstract

As powerful, portable media devices such as smartphones and tablets diffuse across the region at an unparalleled rate, families in Asia are coming to terms with the many asymmetries that these gadgets herald. Because mobile communication devices are deeply personal, but are also vested with a remarkable combination of instrumentality and emotionality, their entry into a household will inevitably provoke alternating reactions of anticipation and dread, efficacy and inadequacy, liberation and enslavement, and joy and drudgery. Within every home, these emotional dualities will pervade each family member’s experience of domesticating mobile devices, making asymmetries relating to power, expectations, practice, access, competencies, and values increasingly palpable. Families must therefore negotiate such asymmetries as they manage the growing presence of mobile communication devices and their expanding repertoire of locative and social media functions.
... Whereas objectification and integration occur within the internal structure of the household, appropriation and conversion broaden the boundaries of the household into the outside world (Lim, 2016;Tan & Lim, 2004). All these processes, however, take place against the backdrop of the value system of the household members according to which the symbolic meanings of goods are constructed (Lim, 2008;Watulak & Whitfield, 2016). ...
... For the women who demonstrated broad domestication, this phase involved becoming aware of IPAs through various media and for some it even included experiencing them at other persons' homes. Supporting previous notions about the role of the outside world in the process of appropriation (Lim, 2016;De Schutter et al., 2015), their awareness and encouraging experience may explain these participants' enthusiasm and mostly positive expectations. ...
... This was particularly true for the women in the first group, who used the IPA to entertain visitors, adults and children alike. For this group, the IPA not only served as a topic of conversation with people outside the household (Lim, 2016;Tan & Lim, 2004), it also created a symbolic change in the household itself. Personifying the IPA and forming a relationship with it, users in this group regarded the IPA as an entity that became part of the household. ...
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Technology domestication in old age may promote autonomy and support aging in place, but most previous research did not follow the process of domestication over time and in real life conditions. To gain deeper understanding of technology domestication in later life, we simultaneously explored uses, outcomes and constraints in real life conditions in a longitudinal study. Nineteen community-dwelling women aged 75–90 were provided with voice-controlled Intelligent Personal Assistants (Google Home) and their experiences with them were documented for three months via semi-structured interviews, observations, and weekly surveys. Analysis identified three different patterns of technology domestication: “Broad domestication” characterized by a high level of integration and ongoing experimentation, “focused domestication” in which the user mainly adopted one of the device’s functions, and “restrained domestication” wherein a short period of experimentation was followed by occasional use, if any. Demonstrating that the process of technology domestication is not homogeneous, the findings call for some theoretical updates and offer several practical implications.
... Selfies have increasingly become a significant facet of social life. They permeate many aspects of contemporary lives and cause marketing managers to reappraise and recalibrate marketing activities (Ma et al., 2017;Lim, 2016). Recent research on selfies has examined the influence of demography (Dhir et al., 2016;Williams and Marquez, 2015), creation and maintenance of meaningful relationships between individuals and communities (Tiidenberg, 2015), individuals' personality and psychology (Qiu et al., 2015) apropos consumers' intentions along with the selfies' role in self-presentation. ...
... Domestication theory (Silverstone et al., 1992) has also been used to explain appropriation at a more household and familial level. For instance, when a certain piece of technology is introduced into a household, technology appropriation extends the physical boundaries of the household into the outside world (Lim, 2016;Yoon, 2016). Consequently, the individuals within the household take possession of this technology, give meanings to that technology, thus symbolising the values of the owners and users (Lim, 2016). ...
... For instance, when a certain piece of technology is introduced into a household, technology appropriation extends the physical boundaries of the household into the outside world (Lim, 2016;Yoon, 2016). Consequently, the individuals within the household take possession of this technology, give meanings to that technology, thus symbolising the values of the owners and users (Lim, 2016). For example, the need for constant and mediated communication between family members may lead to extensive appropriation of ICTs such as smartphones and their apps (Yoon, 2016). ...
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine how young British South Asian adults’ dual cultural identity is exhibited and reaffirmed through the appropriation of selfies. Design/methodology/approach The research adopts a qualitative perspective and utilises a combination of in-depth interviews and netnographic data. Findings The appropriation of the selfie phenomenon by young British South Asian adults reifies, endorses and reinforces their dual cultural identity. As such, their dual cultural identity is influenced by four factors: consonance between host and ancestral cultures, situational constraints, contextual requirements and convenience. Research limitations/implications In terms of the selfie phenomenon, the study makes two major contributions: first, it analyses young British South Asian adults’ cultural dualism. Second, it explicates how their acculturation and their dual cultural identity are expressed through the appropriation of the selfie phenomenon. Practical implications Since young British South Asians represent a significant, and distinct, market, organisations serving this market can marshal insights from this research. As such, managers who apprise themselves of the selfie phenomenon of this group are better placed to meet their consumer needs. Account, therefore, should be taken of their twofold cultural identity and dual British/Asian identification. In particular, consideration should be given to their distinct and demonstrable traits apropos religiosity and social, communal, and familial bonding. The characteristics were clearly evident via their interactions within social media. Consequently, senior marketing managers can utilise the aforementioned in positioning their organisations, their brands and their products and services. Originality/value The study details a new quadripartite framework for analysing young British South Asian adults’ acculturation that leads to the formation of their dual cultural identity and presents a dynamic model that explicates how cultural identity is expressed through the use and appropriation of technology.
... The second framework looks at how this process unfolds through the initial acquisition of the product (appropriation), the spatial reconfiguration of other household objects around it (objectification), the reconfiguration of time routines negotiated with the use of the new technology (incorporation), and finally its symbolic status visa-vis the rest of the society (conversion) (Silverstone 2006). The third framework looks at duals roles of technology as an object and symbolic object and a vehicle that circulates and mediates meaning, where the first articulation is in the object (technological artifact) itself and the second articulation is in the messages conveyed through it (Boczkowski and Lievrouw 2008;Hartmann 2006;Lim 2016;Silverstone 2006). How this manifests itself varies across contexts (Hartmann 2006;Silverstone 2006;Courtois, Verdegem, and De Marez 2012). ...
... Møller and Petersen (2017) use the case of the materiality of gay hookup apps as a technological environment which, through social scripts, have developed into different spaces of sexual intimacy on different apps. Scholars have noted that many analyses of technologies fail to thoroughly detail the concept of double articulation focusing mostly on the object and context, and less on the relationship between the mediums and content (Courtois, Verdegem, and De Marez 2012;Hartmann 2006;Lim 2016;Livingstone 2007). ...
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This exploratory study investigates the encounters and everyday experiences with the Facebook algorithm of 18 informants in Yangon, Myanmar. It draws on domestication theory and research on algorithms to understand how users come to use and respond to Facebook. Findings showed that their particular perception of Facebook algorithm—Friends funnel information—informs their domestication process, wherein they add strangers as Friends to draw more information flows to their News Feeds.
... In this regard, following this proposition allows us to consider the many and intertwined forces that affect mobile communication. For instance, sociocultural and socio-technological forces work as either a catalyst or barrier for enabling a satisfying transnational relationship (Parreñas 2005b(Parreñas , 2014Madianou and Miller 2012;Lim 2016). By examining data drawn from in-depth interviews (Lindlof and Taylor 2002) and photo elicitation (Emmison and Smith 2000), I propose six categories to illuminate uneven communicative mobilities: access, socio-technical competency, quality of connectivity, rhythms, affective experience, and communicative space. ...
... Mobile communication often produces contradictory experiences among transnational families (Horst 2006;Madianou and Miller 2012). These tensions are often shaped by uneven sociocultural expectations (Madianou and Miller 2012;Lim 2016). During my fieldwork, I noticed that bittersweet feelings were experienced by the informants. ...
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... To further explore mediated immobilities, I apply the concept of 'network capital', underlining how uneven access to resources, capacities, and social networks stir forced immobility within digital spaces. For instance, studies have shown how migrants are often forced to disconnect as a result of asymmetrical technological access and competencies in using digital technologies Cabalquinto, 2022;Leurs, 2014;Lim, 2016;Wilding, 2006). The asymmetrical technological landscape between the host and home countries of the migrants constrain digital media use (Cabalquinto, 2018b;Parreñas, 2005;Wilding, 2006). ...
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... To further explore mediated immobilities, I apply the concept of 'network capital', underlining how uneven access to resources, capacities, and social networks stir forced immobility within digital spaces. For instance, studies have shown how migrants are often forced to disconnect as a result of asymmetrical technological access and competencies in using digital technologies Cabalquinto, 2022;Leurs, 2014;Lim, 2016;Wilding, 2006). The asymmetrical technological landscape between the host and home countries of the migrants constrain digital media use (Cabalquinto, 2018b;Parreñas, 2005;Wilding, 2006). ...
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