Theoretical perspectives on technology and society: Implications for understanding the relationship between ICTs and family life

Natasha Mauthner, Karolina Kazimierczak

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Underlying studies of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and family life are particular conceptualisations of the relationship between technological and social change. These frame how ICTs are understood to relate to family dynamics. For example, do ICTs drive familial change, or do families take an active part in managing their influence? In this chapter we examine how the technology-society relation has been theorised and consider how this has influenced research in this field. We outline four approaches to understanding the relationship between technology and society: ‘technological determinism’, ‘social constructivism’, ‘actor network theory’, and a fourth ‘posthumanist’ perspective emerging from a recent ‘posthumanist turn’ associated with feminist studies of science. Drawing on recent research, we illustrate how these approaches inform theoretical and empirical investigations of ICTs and family life. These theoretical formulations, we suggest, act as important resources with which various constituencies experience, make sense of and address the role of technology in contemporary life.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConnecting Families?
Subtitle of host publicationInformation & Communication Technologies, generations, and the life course
EditorsBarbara Neves, Claudia Casimiro
PublisherPolicy Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781447339960, 9781447339977
ISBN (Print)9781447339946
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • ICT-family relationship
  • sociotechnical change
  • technological determinism
  • social constructivism
  • actor network theory
  • posthumanism

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