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The History of Technology and Domestic Life

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  • Communication
  • Ecology
  • Economics
  • Geography


This presentation summarizes how an historical approach informed an environmental analysis of computer home-use. After rejecting the socio-functionalist definition of the household as a private family refuge from work and public life, as well as rejecting the new media image of home as a locus of employment in a computer-based communications society, a review of the history of technology and domestic life provided a framework for conceiving of the household in dynamic relationship to social institutions, including the technology transfer that occurs across them. Historical inquiry informed case study selection, interview protocal and analysis of U.S. households who had purchased microcomputers for home-use. Historical analysis contributed, as well, toward grounding a concept of home as a place that can change over time.

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