Liquid Labour, A Wrecking Ball for Borders

The phenomena of ‘presence bleed’ leads to the obliteration of borders in the home, we may be physically in one location but sorting through information flows in the homogenised space, the cyberspace (Mitef 2014b). A result of this ‘presence bleed’ is the transformation of the institution of family, which Deuze (2006 pg. 5) says, in deference to Anthony Giddens, has become a shell. Now, our families can be considered transitory units, places that exist for temporary convenience where no one is expected to remain long (Deuze pg.5).

The family, now transformed by media devices, may be present physically but somewhere else, breaking down the bonds among family members. Gregg observed in her study that parents were aware that their technology use had an impact on their family and says that children used the same technologies to cope with their parents distracted presence in the home (pp. 26-27). One man in Gregg’s study, a father of two, simply did not have enough hours in the day to answer his emails and would do so at home, upstairs and away from his family (pg. 27). Has the process of ‘presence bleed’ led to the fragmentation of families and the breaking down of bonds between family members? One can only conjecture, but I would say it is a small part of it, ‘presence bleed’ certainly eats into the time that families could be spending together.

References:
Deuze, M 2006, Liquid Life, Convergence Culture, and Media Work, Working Paper, dated 19 March, pp. 01-25.
Gregg, M n.d., Function Creep: Communication Technologies and Anticipatory Labour in the Information Workplace, viewed 20 August 2015, http://homecookedtheory.com/wp-content/uploads/functioncreepnms.doc
Mitef, T 2014, Liquid Labour [Part 1], online video, YouTube, viewed 19 August 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3M9x_UJkoo&list=PLiPp71qLKusXOU1bKxHVappCbRNN3-J-j&index=11
Mitef, T 2014, Liquid Labour [Part 3], online video, YouTube, viewed 19 August 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3BJCXsaDE4&list=PLiPp71qLKusXOU1bKxHVappCbRNN3-J-j&index=13

Music: Are You There by Robodub

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4 thoughts on “Liquid Labour, A Wrecking Ball for Borders

  1. Hi Jacob,

    This is an insightful, well-researched and detailed blog post on the impact of technologies on the institution of the family. The way you have connected the concepts of this week to your argument is excellent! Well-done.

    While it is true that media devices can lead to the break down of bonds among family members, I think that they can also help form closer relationships.  For example, research has found that television fulfils a social function by providing a platform for family togetherness (refer to page 9 of this paper: http://docs.rwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1062&context=nyscaproceedings).

    In this case it is hard to dispute the claim that the medium itself is supporting family relationships and is having a positive impact on the institution of the family. This finding can be extended to other media devices – families are now able to share content such as photos, YouTube videos, Reddit links and Facebook posts on their iPads, laptops and mobile phones.  Family members who may not be able to be physically present can also use apps such as Messenger to communicate and connect with other family members as if they were in the same room.

    In this way, I think there are certain features of media technologies that foster familial bonds and relationships – creating the perpetual ability to connect while shattering the constraints of place and time. At the same time, however, as discussed in your blog post, media technologies can also have detrimental effects on the family system. Perhaps this illustrates that the media cannot be tucked into a definitive category of good or bad since different media devices serve different purposes within family life.

    Well-done on a fantastic blog post, Jayden. The only thing I can suggest for improvement is for you to divide the text of your post into two paragraphs. I think this would make it easier to read 🙂

    1. Thank you for the lovely comments Giverny!
      I agree with everything that you have said here. I think you might be right when you say that media cannot be placed into a definitive category after you have weighed the pros and cons. Another thing to consider might be how media isolates and excludes family members e.g. dad isn’t on Facebook but mum and the kids are, he is not privy to a world that includes his family. This is a kind of exclusion in cyberspace that might be interesting to explore.

  2. I defiantly think that there is fragmentation that might be prevalent in the modern family, but I also agree with Giverny that there are both sides to the argument, it all depends on a users ability to disconnect and ease of their reconnection with family. Once the balance is thrown off and you find it hard to reconnect or disconnect thats when there is a issue. I came across this article last year, it discusses the barriers and anxiety faced by individuals during this process.

    http://boingboing.net/2014/03/06/the-anxiety-of-unplugging-and.html

    It is a good read. Your Soundcloud element is a great audio extension of your well written blog. I wish I had more technical skills in doing that.

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