New technologies are profoundly reshaping the world around us. Home computers - unheard of two decades ago - now play an intimate role as personal possessions in many people's lives. For some, computer games may be vital to winding-down after a busy day, while for others the home computer represents only work or is a means through which to socialize in cyberspace. Powerfully symbolic of both future and present trends, computers are increasingly seen as essential home purchases. This book is the first sustained examination of the revealing role computers play in our domestic lives. Do computers cause or help to resolve arguments? What role does gender play in negotiating their use? Who spends the most time with the computer? How does the importance of home computers change as we move from childhood through careers to retirement? Drawing upon topical theories from material culture, technology and consumption studies, Lally traces the social life of these machines and provides unique insights into the many different ways in which they are transformed into highly personal possessions. The result is an absorbing account of everyday life in the information age. This book will be of interest to anthropologists, geographers, sociologists and anyone who wants to get to know how their home computer affects their family life.

chapter one|24 pages


chapter two|21 pages

The Relationship of Ownership

chapter three|20 pages

The Information Appliance

chapter four|32 pages

Acquiring a Handle on the Future

chapter five|24 pages

Computing in the Domestic Pattern of Life

chapter six|11 pages

Temporal Rhythms of the Computerized Home

chapter seven|21 pages

Negotiations of Ownership

chapter eight|12 pages

Is the Home Computer Pink or Blue?

chapter nine|22 pages

The Domestic Ecology of Objects

chapter ten|18 pages

Machines for Living

chapter eleven|13 pages

Constructing the Self through Objectification