Young people and ICT – materials shaping resource-intensive practices?

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalConference abstract for conferenceResearch


The extensive use of information and communication technology (ICT) in everyday practices results in increasing levels of consumption of energy and materials. Academics, NGOs and policymakers are beginning to address this issue and develop policies and campaigns to promote “sustainable” use of ICT.
The use of ICT is particularly widespread among young people, and this paper investigates the practices related to young people’s use of ICT. More specifically, we focus on the use of smart phones and laptops. The paper focuses on how the material qualities of smart phones, laptops and their related applications/programmes (e.g. social media apps and internet browsers) co-construct user practices related to these devices and in this way play a role for the overall energy consumption. The material qualities include the portability (“always-at-hand”) of small devices, visual and audio notifications and the design of social media and websites like YouTube with design features such as continuous suggestions of videos. The analysis also includes a discussion of the implications of the research findings for strategies and interventions aimed at reducing the energy consumption related to young people’s use of ICT.
Theoretically, the paper will apply a practice theoretical approach with STS concepts that bring the role of materials in shaping practices to the fore. In particular, we will draw on the Madeline Akrichs (1992) concept of (design) scripts. The analysis is based on focus groups with young people carried out in the Netherlands and Denmark.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date1 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016
Event4S/EASST Conference: On Science and Technology Studies - CCIB - Barcelona International Convention Centre, Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 31 Aug 20163 Sep 2016


Conference4S/EASST Conference
LocationCCIB - Barcelona International Convention Centre
Internet address

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