Kjerstin Gruys and David J. Hutson
This chapter uses a comparative case method, drawing on autoethnographic accounts to explore how ethnographers perform aesthetic labor across two research sites: a women’s plus-size clothing store and a coed retail gym. The authors find that they engaged in aesthetic labor as they adapted to the aesthetic expectations of sites by either blending in or sticking out. In their studies, the successful accomplishment of aesthetic labor relied primarily on gender and body size, highlighting how the body functions as a status characteristic that influences existing power dynamics. Such insights suggest the need to conceptualize ethnographic research through the lens of labor—a lens that makes clearer how academic work is structured by the same intersectional inequalities prevalent in most occupational fields.
Michel Walrave, Joris Van Ouytsel, and Koen Ponnet
Both adolescents and adults use mobile applications to engage in conversations, expand their social networks, and, for some, engage in romantic relationships. While mobile applications offer a range of opportunities for maintaining and expanding one’s social circle, some users are confronted with forms of aggression. This chapter reviews the scientific knowledge on two forms of aggressive behavior through mobile technology within interpersonal relationships: cyberbullying and cyber dating abuse. First, the chapter focuses on cyberbullying, defined as intentional acts through digital media to hurt, socially isolate, or cause distress to a victim, which may occur repeatedly or result in repeated harm by continued exposure. The different types, prevalence, as well as predictors and consequences of cyberbullying are analyzed. Second, the authors review research on what stimulates bystanders to help a victim or, on the contrary, join in cyberbullying. Forms of aggression through digital media may occur not only among friends or peers but also within romantic relationships. The third part of the chapter is therefore devoted to the types, motives, and consequences of cyber dating abuse: digital behaviors that occur to control, stalk, harass, or abuse one’s dating partner. Next to emotional forms of abuse (such as threatening or insulting one’s partner), some forms of cyber abuse are sexual (such as pressuring a partner to engage in sexting). To offer a deeper understanding of these digital forms of dating abuse, the contextual and relational factors of the behavior are discussed.
Larissa Hjorth and Ingrid Richardson
In this chapter the authors conceptualize the shifts in mobile gaming through two key rubrics—ambient play and digital wayfaring—that help to coalesce the multiple forms of domestic, casual, and urban play that constitute mobile gaming. In the first two sections the authors provide a definition of these two terms and then a short history of mobile casual gaming in terms of the mobilization of private space. This is followed by a discussion of pervasive games as vehicles for transforming urban environments into playspaces. The authors finish with a brief discussion of the Pokémon Go phenomenon in terms of what constitutes mobile gaming today.
Marta E. Cecchinato and Anna L. Cox
We live in a world of communication overload, where there is a wide range of platforms and devices to choose from, each providing massive content, offering different affordances, and fighting for our attention. Mobile technologies have contributed to expectations of anywhere anytime connectedness, making it hard for individuals to switch off. As a result, it can be hard to feel truly disconnected from work. A lack of control over work-home boundary cross-overs and interruptions can reduce post-work recovery, reducing productivity and increasing stress. Technology is not inherently good or bad, but rather, the way it is adopted and used can positively or negatively color one’s experience. As such, in this critical review we take a social constructionist approach to emphasize how communication technologies are challenging, as well as supporting, work-home boundary management. In doing so, we bring together work from occupational psychology (boundary theory) and human-computer interaction (computer-mediated communication and cross-device interaction). Understanding how these aspects interact and influence each other is important in order to support individuals appropriately, inform policies and guidelines, and ensure both social and digital interactions are designed carefully.
Crispin Coombs, Donald Hislop, Stanimira Taneva, and Sarah Barnard
One of the most significant recent technological developments concerns the application of intelligent machines to jobs that up to now have been considered safe from automation. These changes have generated considerable debate regarding the impacts that the widespread adoption of intelligent machines could have on the nature of work. This chapter provides a thematic review, across multiple academic disciplines, of the current state of academic knowledge regarding the impact of intelligent machines on knowledge and service work. Adopting a work-practice perspective, the chapter reviews the extant literature concerning changing relations between workers and intelligent machines, the adoption and acceptance of intelligent machines, and ethical issues associated with greater machine human collaboration. A key finding is that much of the research discusses intelligent machines complementing and extending human capabilities rather than removing humans from work processes. The concept of augmentation of humans and human work, rather than wholesale replacement from automation, flows through the literature across a range of domains. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the main gaps in existing knowledge and ways in which future research may provide a deeper understanding of how people (currently and in the near future) experience intelligent machines in their day-to-day work practice. These include the need for multi-disciplinary research, the role of contexts, the need for more and better empirical research, the changing relationships between humans and intelligent machines, the adoption and acceptance of the technology, and ethical issues.
Computer-Mediated Communication and Mental Health: A Computational Scoping Review of an Interdisciplinary Field
Adrian Meier, Emese Domahidi, and Elisabeth Günther
The relationship between computer-mediated communication (e.g., Internet or social media use) and mental health has been a long-standing issue of debate. Various disciplines (e.g., communication, psychology, sociology, medicine) investigate computer-mediated communication in relation to a great variety of negative (i.e., psychopathology) and positive (i.e., well-being) markers of mental health. We aim at charting this vast, highly fragmented, and fast growing literature by means of a scoping review. Using methods of computational content analysis in conjunction with qualitative analyses, we map 20 years of research based on 1,780 study abstracts retrieved through a systematic database search. Results reveal the most common topics investigated in the field, as well as its disciplinary boundaries. Our review further highlights emerging trends in the literature and points to unique implications for how future research should address the various relationships between computer-mediated communication and mental health.
Conclusion: Cross-Cutting, Unique, and General Themes in the Oxford Handbook of Digital Technology and Society
Ronald E. Rice, Simeon J. Yates, and Jordana Blejmar
We conclude the Handbook of Digital Technology and Society by identifying topics that appear in multiple chapters, are more unique to some chapters, and that represent general themes across the material. Each of these is considered separately for the ESRC theme chapters and the non-ESRC chapters. In the ESRC theme chapters, cross-cutting research topics include digital divides and inequalities; data and digital literacy; governance, regulation, and legislation; and the roles and impacts of major platforms. Cross-cutting challenges include methods; theory development, testing, and evaluation; ethics; big data; and multi-platform/holistic studies. Gaps include policy implications, and digital culture. In the non-ESRC chapters, more cross-cutting themes include future research and methods; technology venues; relationships; content and creation; culture and everyday life; theory; and societal effects. More unique, these were digitization of self; managing digital experience; names for the digital/social era; ethics; user groups; civic issues; health, and positive effects. The chapter also shows how the non-ESRC chapters may be clustered together based on their shared themes and subthemes, identifying two general themes of more micro and more macro topics. The identification of both more and less common topics and themes can provide the basis for understanding the landscape of prior research, what areas need to be included in ongoing research, and what research areas might benefit from more attention. The chapter ends with some recommendations for such ongoing and future research in the rich, important, and challenging area of digital technology and society.
This chapter aims to provide some insights into how care emerged as a subject of sociological study in Latin America through the lens of gender inequality. Since its emergence as an academic concern, care has become one of the most dynamic and controversial fields of study in contemporary sociology. In Latin American countries, the social organization of care became important in the context of a “care crisis,” which was caused by a combination of increased female participation in the labor market, a more diverse organization of households and families, men’s infrequent participation in care and domestic chores, increasing life expectancy, and new care needs. Shifts in women’s professional lives, in combination with an absence of public services and social benefits that might have replaced some of the unpaid work women had performed within families, have given rise to the crisis of care.
“Digital citizenship” has become a prominent concept to understand the ways in which we interact with our social, political, and economic environment through digital infrastructures and how our lives—and, more broadly, society—are transformed in the process. Many accounts of digital citizenship have emphasized its empowering nature and suggested a shift towards enhanced agency by citizens and a democratizing trend in state-citizen relations. However, as contemporary governance becomes increasingly centered on the collection and analysis of personal data, the age of “datafication” requires us to rethink the concept and its implications. This chapter provides a thorough review of established understandings of digital citizenship and explores what it means when citizens are increasingly subject to data processing and data-based categorization. It offers a perspective on digital citizenship that combines the self-enacted and the institutional positioning of citizens in society in the context of data infrastructures.
Yenn Lee and Alison Scott-Baumann
Through a thematic mapping of the current literature and a gap analysis of the field, the chapter sheds light on the discrepancies between emerging digital practices and established theories of free speech. In the contemporary digital age, censorship and surveillance are exercised more and more by private actors such as social media platform operators, while self-expression increasingly takes the form of content forwarding, coded language, and non-human identities. We observe that the current literature shares a “pathological” approach; that is, undesirable content ought to be removed, avoided, and institutionally intervened upon. This approach, however, poses a new set of difficult questions such as who decides what is intolerably extreme and what is acceptably moderate; who designs and implements the filtering of extreme content; and how can the public ensure the accountability of the filtering mechanism.
Simeon J. Yates and Eleanor Lockley
This chapter focuses on a central and enduring issue in digital studies: digital inequalities, exclusion, or divides, with their changing emphases on access, use, skills, and positive and negative outcomes. However, it extends that literature by looking at how patterns of digital media access, skills, uses, and practices are related to overall systems of social inequality and distinction—that is, social class. Thus, how does social class influence digital inequalities, and, in turn, how do digital technologies mediate access to other social and community realms? Seven outcomes of digital inequalities stand out: material implications for people’s lives; growth of “digital by default” and “digital only” service delivery; centrality of digital to education; centrality of digital tow work; growth in digital culture and leisure; workplace automation and the digital economy; and fairness. The chapter examines key concepts such as social capital, cultural capital (embodied, objectified, institutionalized), habitus, fields of social exclusion, and doxa (Bourdieu; Helsper; Putnam). The chapter critiques the notions of “digital capital” or “information capital” as distinct forms of capital, instead arguing that digital has become crucial to, economic, cultural, and social capital in contemporary society. Results from analyses of national UK data show how eight categories of new media use (associated with digital aspects of habitus) are significantly associated with age, different economic or social classes, different network patterns reflecting social capital, and with different patterns of cultural consumption. Thus differential use of new media by different categories and social classes of users can lead to differential access to skills, resources, and opportunities in society. These inequalities lead to different educational and life opportunities that have the potential to underpin long-term variations in outcomes.
Sharon Wagg, Louise Cooke, and Boyka Simeonova
This review explores the role of digital inclusion in women’s health and well-being in rural communities. This involves reviewing existing research that focuses on the information experiences of women, specifically those who were digitally excluded or limited users of the Internet, who have benefitted from the support of digital inclusion initiatives and technology. There is a global gender digital divide in which more women than men often lack access to information and digital skills, particularly in rural areas. Digital inclusion initiatives are attempting to close this divide and to enable women to make informed decisions about their health and well-being and their families. The review also identifies that digital inclusion is a complex situation of enquiry; there is limited, fragmented research in which the concepts of information literacy and digital inclusion have been brought together; and significant tensions and contradictions exist within digital inclusion practice. The review also highlights the opportunity for further research and theory development.
Nicola Green, Rob Comber, and Sharron Kuznesof
Humans beings in the 21st century face significant social and global change. Ever-evolving digital technologies are increasingly embedded in the material, economic, and socio-cultural milieu; while global crises in climate change present challenges to human and global security and resilience. Social science and human-computer interaction research has investigated how digital systems might help to understand current environmental changes and intervene in the problematic human relationships to scarce resources of the natural world. This chapter reviews research contributions of sustainable human-computer interaction (HCI) and the social sciences on human consumption of resources most crucial to human life: water, energy, and food (WEF). Briefly outlining the current and ongoing evolution of digital technologies particularly concerned with embedded urban digital infrastructures in “smart” and automated technologies and the Internet of Things, it then touches on the scope and scale of the simultaneous environmental challenges posed by population growth and urbanization. It introduces sustainable HCI as one approach that directly addresses both trends. The chapter then outlines the most significant approaches that have informed the development of “sustainable HCI,” and reviews important empirical contributions underpinning the developing interdisciplinary research in the field. It outlines the current understanding of household resource use and considers how developing digital technologies might support domestic resource conservation and mitigate intensive domestically based resource consumption. The chapter closes with observations on the shifting relationships (and sustainable HCI research into them) that might constitute future ways of being in a sustainable digital age.
Helen Petrie and Jenny S. Darzentas
This chapter reviews recent research on digital technology to support older people. The review concentrates on research emphasizing the design and evaluation of technologies used by older people, rather than the technical implementation of the technologies. Such papers provided insight into the needs and interests for this group, how older people were involved in the research, and what outcomes were achieved. 407 papers were identified and grouped into 16 major topics of research. Four of these topics are discussed in detail, as well as several of the general themes that emerged from the research.
Georgina Nugent-Folan and Jennifer Edmond
One of the major terminological forces driving information and communication technology (ICT) integration in research today is “big data.” The characteristics of big data make big data sound inclusive and integrative. However, in practice such approaches are highly selective, excluding input that cannot be effectively structured, represented, or digitized; in other words, excluding complex data. Yet complex data are precisely the kind that human activity tends to produce, but the technological imperative to enhance signal through the reduction of noise does not accommodate this richness. The objective of this chapter is to explore the impact of bias in digital approaches to knowledge creation by investigating the delimiting effect digital mediation and datafication can have on rich, complex cultural data. If rich or complex data prove difficult to fully represent on a small-scale level, in the transition to a big data environment, we run the risk of losing much of what makes this material useful or interesting in the first place. We will begin by reviewing some of the existing implicit definitions of data that underlie ICT-driven research. In doing so will draw attention to the heterogeneity of definitions of data, to identify the key terms associated with data demarcation and data use, and to then expand on the implications of this heterogeneity.
Simeon J. Yates, Bridgette Wessels, Paul Hepburn, Alexander Frame, and Vishanth Weerakkody
This chapter describes the analyses and results for the ESRC Domain of Citizenship and Politics, guided by two main questions: How digital technology impacts on our autonomy, agency, and privacy; Whether and how our understanding of citizenship is evolving in the digital age. It first provides an initial overview of the major insights from the literature review and analysis, the Delphi surveys, and workshop discussions about the relevant range of the concepts of citizenship and politics in a digital age. Over time the literature shows a shift from issues of public sphere and use of the Internet by government and candidates to more focus on political participation and engagement, especially through online communities, social networks, and social media. Eight main topics emerged: public sphere, measurement, social network analysis, protest and activism, governance, elections, cyber hate crime, and partisan politics. The analyses also highlighted theory, methods, and approaches in the literature. The review provides examples of literature in the project’s time period that illustrate these topics. The chapter ends with a discussion of considerable future research directions (e.g., mobilization and radicalization) and research challenges (e.g., managing big data, and ethical issues).
Simeon J. Yates, Gerwyn Jones, William H. Dutton, and Elinor Carmi
This chapter describes the analyses and results for the ESRC Domain of Governance and Security, guided by two questions: What are the challenges of ethics, trust, and consent in the digital age? How do we define responsibility and accountability in the digital age? It first provides an overview of the major insights from the literature review and analysis, the Delphi surveys, and workshop discussions about pertinent concepts of governance and security in a digital age. The most frequent concepts emerging from topic modelling included social movements and protest communication, Internet governance, measurement, automation, EU commission and privacy, urban migration mobile, social media, law enforcement, and Marxist analysis. Comparing these results with the most common words in the literature review, five major topics emerged: state use of digital media, especially surveillance of social movements and protest; Internet regulation and governance, both national and international; children’s use of digital media, both protection and regulation; regulation and governance of automated systems; and deception in digital media. Gradually, emphases shifted from regulation of general technology use to concerns with privacy, data protection, and children’s use of digital technologies. The analyses also identified the kinds of theory, methods, and approaches in the literature. The review provides examples of literature in the project’s time period that illustrate these topics. It ends with a discussion of future research directions (e.g., accountability for digital systems and their impacts, algorithms and the law, human factors in cyber security, and ethics) and research challenges (e.g., cybersecurity, governance, and transnational governance).
Simeon J. Yates, Liz Robson, Ronald E. Rice, and Elinor Carmi
This chapter describes the analyses and results for the ESRC Domain of Data and Representation, guided by the question: “How do we live with and trust the algorithms and data analysis used to shape key features of our lives?” It provides an initial overview of major insights from the literature review and analysis, the Delphi surveys, and workshop discussions about the relevant concepts of data and representation in a digital age. It then focuses on technology, development, and organizations but later emphasizes data issues and, less frequently, policy, information, communication, technology, and research. Fourteen main topics emerged: global and urban culture, governance, Twitter and politics, cybercrime, Google, law and hate speech, big data, science and methods, health, gender, consumer services, ethics and impact, mobile, and social media. The chapter provides brief summaries of publications dealing with three key issues emerging from these topics: data methods, data sources, ethics and impact, and data representation and other domains. The analyses also highlight theory, methods, and approaches in the literature, showing predominantly inductive work, emphasizing reviews, commentary, or secondary data. The main theoretical sources were by far sociology, then psychology and communications and media. The plurality of articles involving research used case studies and various data collection methods. Finally, the chapter discusses future research and scoping questions (e.g., with social impacts; privacy and surveillance; citizens/everyday life; and open data/algorithm transparency/accountability) and research challenges (methods; social theory and social questions; access to data; data literacy; education;, ethics; inequality/exclusion/inclusion/divides; and interdisciplinarity).
Simeon J. Yates, Paul Hepburn, Ronald E. Rice, Bridgette Wessels, and Elinor Carmi
This chapter describes the analyses and results for the ESRC Economy and Organizations domain, guided by two main questions: How do we construct the digital to be open to all, sustainable, and secure? And what impacts might the automation of the future workforce bring? The chapter first provides an initial overview of the major insights from the literature review and analysis, the Delphi surveys, and workshop discussions about the relevant range of the concepts of economy and organization (initially, economy and sustainability). Four main topics emerged: digital technology uptake by both business and consumers; social and economic capital of citizens; digital skills; and economic growth and change. Analysis of a specially curated set of 1900 articles over the 2000-2016 period showed perhaps the greatest change in focus over time of all the domains. The earlier literature emphasized information as a product (involving property rights, markets, law), and some technologies. The later literature highlighted knowledge seeking, skills, communication, and uses. The analyses also identified the roles of theory (rather under-utilized but, when used, were primarily from sociology) and methods (the most common being literature reviews) in this domain. The chapter ends with a discussion of future research directions (e.g., the shaping and development of the digital economy while also fostering sustainability and participation, and impacts of digital labor on people’s life experiences) and research challenges (e.g., measuring overall impact of a digital technology on a business, and measuring new ways of working and consuming).
Simeon J. Yates, Leanne Townsend, Monica Whitty, Ronald E. Rice, and Elinor Carmi
This chapter describes the analyses and results for the ESRC Domain of Health and Well-Being, guided by a three-part main question: “whether technology makes us healthier, better educated, and more productive.” It first provides an initial overview of the major insights from the literature review and analysis, the Delphi surveys, and workshop discussions about the relevant range of the concepts of health and well-being in a digital age. The resulting focus is initially mostly about the technology but later on users, health, and research. Eight main topics emerged, including health care, measures and measurement, mobile and smartphone devices, social support, and weight loss. The analyses also highlighted theory, methods, and approaches in the literature, showing a relatively even distribution of deductive–inductive approaches and quantitative–qualitative approaches, using several well-known theories from psychology (e.g., theories of behavior change) and sociology (social networks). The review provides examples of literature from the project’s study period that illustrate these topics. The chapter concludes with a discussion of future research directions (e.g., cross-platform or holistic assessments examining the effects of broad, everyday digital technology use on health and well-being) and research challenges (e.g., methods, rapid change in health care technology, big data for health, and linking of personal and clinical health data with well-being outcomes).