Our aim in this book is to open up for analysis some crucial, but barely examined, areas of social, cultural and economic life. At its core is a concern with the complex set of relationships that mark and define the place and significance of the domestic in the modern world-a place and significance enhanced, mediated, contained, even constrained, by our ever-increasing range of information and communication technologies and the systems and services that they offer the household. The issues raised are, we believe, of wide relevance. Both public and academic debate have for many years been preoccupied with the domestic in its relationship with what is often perceived as the steadily increasing commodification and privatization of everyday life. These debates have also been preoccupied with the impact of technological change on established social structures and cultural values. Yet many of the discussions on these issues have not been informed by substantive empirical work. And some of the core questions for an understanding of the nature of modern industrial society-on the nature of consumption, on the appropriation of communication and information technologies and their mediated meanings, on the contradictory significance of the domestic sphere-have been remarkably under-studied. We offer, through the pages of this book, an attempt to address some of these questions and to redress the balance between assertion and informed argument.