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Technology in Absentia: A New Materialist Study of Digital Disengagement
Uppsala universitet, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för informatik och media.
2022 (engelsk)Doktoravhandling, monografi (Annet vitenskapelig)
Fritextbeskrivning
Abstract [en]

The rhetoric associated with society-wide digitalisation promises benefits such as increased quality of life, democracy, or sustainability, which point towards normative trajectories of increased automation and digitalisation of nearly all aspects of society. Meanwhile, there is evidence of a disenchantment with digital use, forming a movement that challenges the pervasiveness of digital artefacts such as the smartphone. This kind of scepticism towards digital technologies is currently informing and changing how we assume, understand, and conceptualise technology in our professional and private lives, leading to an emerging trend of volitionally reducing or postponing the use of digital devices – a practice often labelled as digital disengagement. In this dissertation the research lens is directed towards how the disengagement from ubiquitous digital devices unfolds and to what results. Thus, it investigates the productive potential of technology intentionally made absent, repositioning the traditional approach of articulating such absence as a deficit.

Drawing on a new materialist perspective of technology use which combines assemblage theory with agential realism, this dissertation explores the search for meaningful technological encounters through a multi-sited ethnographic approach. More specifically, it combines autoethnography, a diary study, interviews, participatory observations, and netnography in which moments of disconnection are observed in order to understand experiences of digital disengagement at individual and collective levels. 

Through this lens, the performativity, temporality, and productivity of digital disengagement are made visible and analysed. Results show that digital disengagement is not an insular practice, including in its composition a myriad of external components. Digitalisation is shown to be in direct dialogue with practices of digital disengagement through their mutual dichotomic logics. Further analysis of such dichotomies suggests new manners of engaging with technology in which digital use and non-use are entangled, resulting in a novel type of technology engagement called diffractive digital use

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Uppsala: Department of Informatics and Media , 2022. , s. 248
Emneord [en]
digital disengagement, diffractive digital use, ethnography, new materialism, technology non-use, digital disconnection, digital detox
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Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-473448ISBN: 978-91-506-2949-1 (tryckt)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-473448DiVA, id: diva2:1654554
Disputas
2022-06-14, Lecture Hall 2, Ekonomikum, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10, Uppsala, 10:15 (engelsk)
Opponent
Veileder
Tilgjengelig fra: 2022-05-23 Laget: 2022-04-27 Sist oppdatert: 2022-05-23

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