Technological fascination and reluctance: gendered practices in the smart home

Line Kryger Aagaard*, Line Valdorff Madsen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Smart home technology (SHT) is becoming more widespread, implemented to enhance convenience as well as energy flexibility and efficiency. Smart heating, lighting, security and entertainment systems are affecting social practices and the use of energy in different ways. This paper explores differences in competences, meanings and forms of knowledge involved in the performance of (gendered) household practices based on two Danish qualitative studies of different user groups: SHT frontrunner households (n = 15) and less tech-interested households (n = 12). The former had incorporated a broad range of smart technologies, e.g. vacuum cleaners, lighting and entertainment systems, while the latter were primarily engaged with smart heating systems. In the frontrunner households, internal differences in competences and meanings between men and women were more apparent than in households with less tech interest. A clear division between traditional and digital housekeeping is apparent that reinforces gender inequality. Evidence shows the variation in how SHT is part of gendered everyday practices; how SHT changes meanings and competences in practices and induces new ways of performing practices that can involve gendered digital inequality. Thus, it is necessary to consider competences and meanings in everyday practices as well as gendered ideas behind the technology.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBuildings and Cities
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)677–691
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sep 2022


  • Digital housekeeping
  • Energy
  • Gender
  • Homes
  • Smart home
  • Social practices
  • Tech competences


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