Tinkering with technology: New practices and redistributed roles within the smart home

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This paper explores the role of smart home technology (SHT) in everyday practices and household members’ experiences. SHT is developing rapidly and will most likely form the fabric of our future homes. Home automation causes alterations in everyday life, social practices and domestic roles. The SHT field is often described as male dominated, but how this exactly plays out in practice is less researched. This paper demonstrates how the implementation of SHT results in new practices and a redistribution of (gender) roles. Based on home tours and user interviews, the study documents how different types of SHT require work and technological skill for optimal performance and interoperability, which involves programming and a mapping of the household’s routines. Such activities make up a new domestic practice – proposed in the paper as SHT tinkering. This involves monitoring and control and requires tech-savvy competences. In the study, SHT tinkering would most often (or solely) be performed by the man of the household whom simultaneously took the biggest interest in SHT and held the basic competences for its implementation. The practice of SHT tinkering indicates a redistribution of roles within everyday practices, with the risk of reinforcing power imbalances and gender roles
Original languageEnglish
Publication date17 May 2021
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2021
EventNordic STS 2021 - Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 20 May 202121 May 2021


ConferenceNordic STS 2021
LocationCopenhagen Business School (CBS)
Internet address


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