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Our third project publication

The third publication from the ‘Living with Personal Data’ project, entitled ‘The COVID digital home assemblage: Transforming the home into a work space during the crisis‘ (authored by Ash Watson, Deborah Lupton and Mike Michael) has been published in Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies. In this article, we discuss some of the ways that people’s homes changed in the first months of COVID lockdown. As our project fieldwork began in early 2020 and continued throughout Australia’s first lockdown, we were able to document how people tried to work from home during the first year of the pandemic.

The abstract reads:

Major changes to home life and work practices globally have been brought about by the COVID-19 crisis. Periods of strict restrictions placed on people’s movements outside their homes, aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus, have meant that the home was requisitioned as a primary site for work for many people. In this article, we draw on case studies from an ethnographic project that explored how people living in Sydney use digital technologies in the home setting. Our fieldwork commenced in early 2020, just prior to the national COVID lockdown period in Australia, and continued throughout the lockdown and the months following. As a result, we were able to document people’s experiences of transitioning to working from home during the first year of the pandemic. In this article, we adopt a sociomaterial approach together with domestication theory to analyse the complexities of the changed COVID home in the context of digitised working arrangements. We surface and theorise the tensions and leaky boundaries between workplaces and family/domestic life that are brought about by, through and beyond the digital. By addressing the sociomaterial choreographies and modalities of presence involved, we attempt to capture the processes through which the COVID digital home assemblage is continuously configured and the more or less simultaneous presence and absence of people in both domestic and work domains.

As with all publications, please do email us if you cannot access a copy via the link above.


Published by Ash Watson

Sociologist and writer

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