Week Two – Domestication

Silverstone, Roger. “Domesticating Domestication. Reflections on the Life of a Concept”.

This reading discusses the beginnings of technology in the twentieth century and follows technological developments to the modern day. It tells that the identity of media studies changed from determinism toward constructivism. Domestication of the media became apparent, human beings feel a sense of security in their everyday lives through this. Before the domestication of media, it was quite “wild”. It talks about the home as being the place of domestication, and how domestication is implemented through in our private domains.  This reading makes us think how we use domesticated media in our households and whether or not the morality of media still exists.



One Response to “Domestication”

  1. sratodd Says:

    Silverstone’s chapter provides an interesting discussion on the emergence of ‘domestication’ in media studies. The process of ‘domestication’, outlined within the reading, equates the introduction of a new technology within a household, to the taming of a wild animal. Indeed, in the same way that a new pet must be “tamed” (or domesticated) in order to be successfully assimilated into its new home, so too must a new technology conform with the ‘moral economy’ of the private space. Silverstone reminds us, however, that this process of consumption is not one-way. “Machines and services do not come into the household naked. They are packaged…with…the imaginaries of modern consumer society”. As such the introduction of a new technology can radically transform the dynamics of a household and its members “both internally in the interrelationships they have with each other….and externally as the threads of connections and disconnections…extend into public spaces”. In this respect one of the ‘threats’ of a new technology is the way in which it can defy traditional boundaries that separate public and private space. In addition, as Mike Michael discusses in the second reading, there is also a fear that these new technologies offer the potential to be “misused”. I found Michael’s analysis of the discourse surrounding the “couch potato” stereotype to be an interesting example of this.

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