Celf Specialization: Discourse/Conversation Analysis, Linguistic Anthropology, Language Socialization
In contemporary American households, family members are surrounded by media technology, including a wide array of screen, interactive, audio, and print media. Over the last five decades, the emergence of such artifacts has revolutionized, influenced, and impacted irreversibly the concepts/notions of family time, play, social networks, civic engagements, and even work, as home and work are now merging. Technology is inseparable from culture and society, and is not something that "impacts" the social world from outside. Research has shown that media technologies can be viewed as embodiments of social and cultural relations that in turn, structure our social and cultural futures.
Communication technology is part of a rich interplay of socio-cultural artifacts and practices that make family life complex and formative. Establishing and monitoring children’s interactions with media has become an important component of childcare. Parents and other caregivers attempt to set norms, preferences, and expectations concerning children’s involvement in media practices. Family researchers have not generally examined the impact of media on family life from an interactional point of view. Most studies rely on data from survey questionnaires and daily diaries, and findings are typically quantitatively analyzed using standard tests of significance. A major gap in the family media usage literature has been the lack of knowledge regarding how families routinely interact with media, and how family relationships are organized by media, from developmental, behavioral, and interactional perspectives.
The goal of my research is to look ecologically at "socio-technological" systems, and to understand socialization and learning as a structure of participation in relation to these systems. I examine children’s socialization into family media ideologies, and practices through everyday social interactions with family members. Alternatively, since socialization is viewed as a bidirectional process, this project considers children as socializers of adult family members in their interface with high technology in the home. Through ethnographically-informed discourse analysis, this research aims to shed new light on the complex nature of socialization into and through media practices in the home, which is constantly redefined and evolves through interpersonal interaction. Taking into account the diversity of families in the study, I make preliminary inferences about the role of technology in family culture as well as specifically in the American culture. I attempt to understand the role of the media in family lifeworlds. I examine the media structuring relationships between parents and children who draw each other into realms of knowledge, actions, and morality.