Why Online Disconnection Matters: A Critical Research Agenda on
Voluntary ICT Non-Use
Talk by Magdalena Kania-Lundholm
Thu 31 May 2018
17:00 – 18:30 BST
University of Westminster
309 Regent Street
Organised by Westminster Institute for Advanced Studies
In this talk, Magdalena Kania-Lundholm (Uppsala University, Sweden)
discusses the existing body of research on online disconnection, also
referred to as voluntary non-use of technology or media refusal.
She argues that we need to explore and understand the contexts, meanings
and conditions under which disconnection becomes relevant. She provides
three main reasons why research on online voluntary disconnection is
worth developing further:
First, because it challenges the hegemonic ideas about connectivity,
participation and the primacy of usage. In doing so, she points to
disconnection as socially embedded and flexible over time.
Second, it points towards various forms of media resistance, and saying
“no” to the opaque structures of power and control in the networked
society, which includes both individual and collective acts.
Third, research on disconnection goes beyond the rhetoric of novelty,
progress, self-control and self-empowerment, and by emphasising the
materiality of the digital it has the potential to address the politics
of social media.
What we need is critically-oriented and sociologically informed research
and an expanded critical research agenda on this topic.
Magdalena Kania-Lundholm is a WIAS visiting researcher (May and June
2018). She is a researcher at the Department of Sociology, Uppsala
University. Her research combines sociology of communications and media,
cultural sociology, critical internet studies, social theory and
qualitative methods. She focuses on the sociological study of the online
processes of mediation and commercialization of nationhood as well as
questions of digitalization, ICTs usage among elderly and digital
inclusion. In her recent work, she explores the notions and meaning of
technology non-use, media refusal and voluntary online disconnection.
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