Internet Society: The Internet in Everyday Life

Bakardjieva, Maria

“`A highly topical, interesting and lively analysis of ordinary internet use, based on both theoretically competent reflections and sound ethnographic material’ – Joost van Loon, Reader in Social Theory at Nottingham Trent University Internet Society investigates internet use and it’s implications for society through insights into the daily experiences of ordinary users. Drawing on an original study of non-professional, ‘ordinary’ users at home, this book examines how people interpret, domesticate and creatively appropriate the Internet by integrating it into the projects and activities of their everyday lives. Maria Bakardjieva’s theoretical framework uniquely combines concepts from several schools of thought (social constructivism, critical theory, phenomenological sociology) to provide a conception of the user as an agent in the field of technological development and new media shaping. She:- examines the evolution of the Internet into a mass medium- interrogates what users make of this new communication medium- evaluates the social and cultural role of the Internet by looking at the immediate level of users’ engagement with it- exposes the dual life of technology as invader and captive;colonizer and colonized This book will appeal to academics and researchers in social studies of technology, communication and media studies, cultural studies, philosophy of technology and ethnography.”


Reader Comments

The way the author frames herself as the first to look at the Internet (or really, technology in general) in the everyday lives of users is a bit grating. I appreciate her deep exploration of what “everyday life” means, but there’s plenty of work out there that analyzes the intersection of everyday life/the lifeworld and technology and ICT. The author does not cite a lot of foundational work – such as Hacker – in this vein, and then does cite sociology of technology as deficient in ways that it actually isn’t, especially IF you frame this subfield more broadly. For example, on page 20, she says “While this distinction [between a communication technology, and its institutions and cultural forms] escapes accounts originating from the sociology of technology and much philosophy of technology, it is very useful for the analysis of communication technologies”

I think there’s a false dichotomy here between sociology of technology and sociology of culture – technology is material culture, and there’re plenty of sociologists and others who’ve looked specifically at the end users’ uses of media/ communication technology in their everyday lives across quite a range of practices and venues. I appreciate the in-depth look at use in the home.