Critical and playful subjectivity in networked families: Investigating family privacy practices, norms and smart home technology

01 March 2022 → 28 February 2026
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Digital media
    • Media audience research
    • Media research methodology
    • Media sociology
surveillance children privacy smart home technologies ethnography families
Project description

New technologies that drive on personal information have made an entry into the family household (e.g., intelligent personal assistents, smart toys, tracking technologie) and are involved in processes that relate to surveillance and privacy. The datafication of childhood and parenthood, the normalization of networked and smart home technologies as partners of socialization and changing parental mediation styles with a focus on monitoring children's practices, raises significant privacy challenges for contemporary families. This project aims to 1) build a new applied social theory on privacy that treats privacy as a breathing room that allows for the development of a critical and playful subjectivity, rather than portraying privacy as a good that can be traded off against other goods; 2) apply this theory to the privacy practices and norms of the networked family in their smart homes. In the empirical part of the project a family ethnography is foreseen, with a focus on individual privacy practices and negotiations between household members as well as how children experience room for free play and development of personal autonomy.