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Around the Screen: Computer activities in children’s everyday lives
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Omkring skärmen : Barns datoraktiviteter i vardagen (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

The present ethnography documents computer activities in everyday life. The data consist of video recordings, interviews and field notes, documenting (i) 16 students in a seventh grade class in a computer room and other school settings and (ii) 22 children, interacting with siblings, friends and parents in home settings. The thesis is inspired by discourse analytical as well as ethnographic approaches, including notions from Goffman (1974, 1981), e.g. those of activity frame and participation framework, which are applied and discussed.

The thesis consists of four empirical studies. The first study focuses on students’ illegitimate use, from the school’s point of view, of online chatting in a classroom situation. It is shown that the distinction offline/online is not a static one, rather it is made relevant as part of switches between activity frames, indicating the problems of applying Goffman’s (1981) notions of sideplay, byplay and crossplay to analyses of interactions in which several activity frames are present, rather than one main activity. Moreover, it is shown that online identities, in terms of what is here called tags, that is, visual-textual nicknames, are related to offline phenomena, including local identities as well as contemporary aesthetics. The second study focuses on placement of game consoles as part of family life politics. It is shown that game consoles were mainly located in communal places in the homes. The distinction private/communal was also actualized in the participants’ negotiations about access to game consoles as well as negotiations about what to play, when, and for how long. It is shown that two strategies were used, inclusion and exclusion, for appropriating communal places for computer game activities. The third study focuses on a digital divide in terms of a generational divide with respect to ascribed computer competence, documenting how the children and adults positioned each other as people ‘in the know’ (the children) versus people in apprentice-like positions (the adults). It is shown that this generation gap was deployed as a resource in social interaction by both the children and the adults. The forth study focuses on gaming in family life, showing that gaming was recurrently marked by response cries (Goffman, 1981) and other forms of blurted talk. These forms of communication worked as parts of the architecture of intersubjectivity in gaming (cf. Heritage, 1984), indexing the distinction virtual/‘real’. It is shown how response cries, sound making, singing along and animated talk extended the virtual in that elements of the game became parts of the children’s social interaction around the screen, forming something of an action aesthetic, a type of performative action for securing and displaying joint involvement and collaboration. As a whole, the present studies show how the distinctions master/apprentice, public/private, virtual/real and subject/object are indexicalized and negotiated in computer activities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2007. , 72 + studies 1-4 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 388
Keyword [en]
Ethnography, Activity frames, Computer activities, Identities, Digital technology, Classroom, family, Social interaction, Everyday life, Children
Keyword [sv]
barn, datoraktivitet, digital teknologi, diskursanalys, familj, identitet, skola, social, interaktion, vardagsliv
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-8883ISBN: 978-91-85831-82-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-8883DiVA: diva2:23606
Public defence
2007-06-01, Elysion, Hus T, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2007-05-14 Created: 2007-05-14 Last updated: 2014-09-10Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Alternating between online and offline: tags and frame switches as interactional resources
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Alternating between online and offline: tags and frame switches as interactional resources
2007 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The present data are based on an ethnographic study of computer use in everyday interactions in a seventh grade class (of 13-14 year-olds). The data were analysed in terms of activity frames and participation frameworks (Goffman 1981), exploring how students deployed online and offline activity frames in their identity performance. It is shown how MSN (online) identities are invoked in subsequent and intermittent face-to-face interaction; a dialogue can start on MSN and continue in faceto-face interaction, and vice versa. This means that frame switches are important features of the students’ identity work. Similarly, the students employed nicknames or tags, that is, textual-visual displays of ‘speaker’ identities, located in the boundary zone between online and offline activities. In terms of participation frameworks, it is also documented ways in which students engaged in crossplay (Goffman 1981), where a ratified participant communicated with a non-ratified participant. Yet, one problem in analysing participation frameworks and particularly byplay and sideplay (Goffman 1981) is that these concepts require that the analyst can identify one dominant activity. This was not possible in the present data. Instead, the data are primarily analysed in terms of borderwork, that here entails frame switchings, crossplay and a strategic use of tags.

Keyword
participation framework, activity frames, online activities, offline activities, identities, borderwork.
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14501 (URN)
Available from: 2007-05-14 Created: 2007-05-14 Last updated: 2010-10-11
2. Gaming and Territorial Negotiations in Family Life
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gaming and Territorial Negotiations in Family Life
2009 (English)In: Childhood, ISSN 0907-5682, E-ISSN 1461-7013, Vol. 16, no 4, 497-517 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article examines territorial negotiations concerning gaming, drawing on video recordings of gaming practices in middle-class families. It explores how private vs public gaming space was co-construed by children and parents in front of the screen as well as through conversations about games. Game equipment was generally located in public places in the homes, which can be understood in terms of parents’ surveillance of their children, on the one hand, and actual parental involvement, on the other. Gaming space emerged in the interplay between game location, technology and practices, which blurred any fixed boundaries between public and private, place and space, as well as traditional age hierarchies.

Keyword
computer gaming • family politics • parental involvement • place/space • public/private
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14502 (URN)10.1177/0907568209343879 (DOI)
Note
Tidigare titel: Computer gaming and territorial negotiations in family life Available from: 2007-05-14 Created: 2007-05-14 Last updated: 2010-07-01
3. Computer- and Video games in Family Life: The digital divide as a resource in intergenerational interactions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Computer- and Video games in Family Life: The digital divide as a resource in intergenerational interactions
2007 (English)In: Childhood, ISSN 0907-5682, Vol. 14, no 2, 235-256 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this ethnographic study of family life, intergenerational video and computer game activities were videotaped and analysed. Both children and adults invoked the notion of a digital divide, i.e. a generation gap between those who master and do not master digital technology. It is argued that the digital divide was exploited by the children to control the game activities. Conversely, parents and grandparents positioned themselves as less knowledgeable, drawing on a displayed divide as a rhetorical resource for gaining access to playtime with the children. In these intergenerational encounters, the digital divide was thus an interactional resource rather than a problem.

Keyword
computer games, digital divide, family, knowledge-relations, participation framework, video games
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14503 (URN)10.1177/0907568207078330 (DOI)
Available from: 2007-05-14 Created: 2007-05-14 Last updated: 2009-04-21
4. Response cries and other gaming moves: Building intersubjectivity in gaming
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Response cries and other gaming moves: Building intersubjectivity in gaming
2009 (English)In: Journal of Pragmatics, ISSN 0378-2166, Vol. 41, no 8, 1557-1575 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The present study focuses on the ways in which response cries (Goffman, 1981) are deployed as interactional resources in computer gaming in everyday life. It draws on a large-scale data set of video recordings of the everyday lives of middleclass families. The recordings of gaming between children and between children and parents show that response cries were not arbitrarily located within different phases of gaming (planning, gaming or commenting on gaming). Response cries were primarily used as interactional resources for securing and sustaining joint attention (cf. Goodwin, 1996) during the gaming as such, that is, during periods when the gaming activity was characterized by a relatively high tempo. In gaming between children, response cries co-occurred with their animations of game characters and with sound making, singing along, and code switching in ways that formed something of an action aesthetic, a type of aesthetic that was most clearly seen in gaming between game equals (here: between children). In contrast, response cries were rare during the planning phases and during phases in which the participants primarily engaged in setting up or adjusting the game.

Keyword
Computer gaming; Response cries; Intersubjectivity; Everyday life; Action aesthetic
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14504 (URN)10.1016/j.pragma.2007.05.014 (DOI)
Available from: 2007-05-14 Created: 2007-05-14 Last updated: 2010-02-05

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