Norwegian version

Digital vulnerabilities at home: a fieldwork study of everyday life and risk associated with internet connected devices in Norwegian households

This PhD project is concerned with how internet connected devices in homes, such as smart assistants, smart lights, smart door locks and robot vacuums, are integrated into the Norwegian households’ everyday life.

The society is going through an extensive digitalization process where many services, products and ways to communicate are digitized and increasingly brought into the home. There are many benefits with this, such as increased efficiency and accessibility, but it also brings challenges with privacy, data management and the need for new competences to manage these new processes. This creates new distinctions in the population and may cause vulnerable groups to fall behind the development. Additionally, bringing more technologies and services into the home will contribute to further blur the lines between private and public, and give international commercial actors such as Google, Amazon and Apple access to the private sphere.

This PhD project is concerned with how internet connected devices in homes, such as smart assistants, smart lights, smart door locks and robot vacuums, are integrated into the Norwegian households’ everyday life. The main focus is on how these devices are part of different people’s everyday routines and relations. For example, what function the technology has, what competences are required to manage such home devices, how people relate to the technology, and how they contribute to realize relations between the household members. The study seeks to contribute to the unpacking of everyday life with internet connected devices in Norwegian households.

The project employs practice theory and domestication theory focusing on everyday practices and the integration of home technology in everyday life. The fieldwork consists of qualitative interviews with Norwegian owners of smart and IoT home devices as mentioned above, and varies in terms of age, location, gender, as well as interest in and confidence with such devices.

The project is a part of the RCN-financed project RELINK, which is led by senior researcher Ardis Storm-Mathisen (SIFO/LUI, OsloMet). The aim of RELINK is to strengthen the households’ opportunities to make risk evaluations related to such internet connected devices in homes, and the PhD project will as such contribute with identifying digital vulnerabilities and opportunities that follow the everyday use of them.

Main supervisor: Henry Mainsah (SIFO)

Co-supervisors: Marit Haldar (SAM) & Ardis Storm-Mathisen (LUI/SIFO)