Multi-site domestication: taming technologies across multiple institutional settings
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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This article advances domestication theory by developing the concept of multi-site domestication. Whereas domestication theory traditionally focuses on the ‘taming’ of technologies at a single site (most often, the household), the concept of multi-site domestication captures how technologies often require different taming processes across multiple institutional settings. In this article, we apply the concept to understand the multi-site domestication of AV1: a communication solution for children who are homebound because of chronic illness or disabilities, which creates a communicative bridge from an app on the homebound student’s phone/tablet and to a ‘telepresence robot’ that is placed physically in the classroom, where it is meant to function as the homebound student’s proxy. Using data from a larger qualitative study of the implementation of AV1 in Norway, the article shows how the ‘traditional’ domestication processes of appropriation, objectification, incorporation, and conversion play out and are complicated when domestication occurs across settings with different and at times opposing norms, rules, values, and logics. In charting these multi-site dynamics, the article updates domestication theory for an age of increasingly intertwined technologies, thus helping future studies to look beyond single sites and appreciate more complex taming processes.