Department of Telecommunications
lems 'at' indiana 'dot' edu
As a doctoral candidate in the Department of Telecommunications at Indiana University, I am currently studying the ways that Old Order Amish groups are using cell phones, smart phones and the internet.
This data is part of my dissertation which asks whether and/or how the Amish approach to adopting technologies is evolving as the economy becomes more complex and new technologies become harder to separate from the body and natural groupings.
My project involves talking to and observing Amish people using cell/smart phones and the internet in their work. Work is the site in Amish life where A.) the use of these technologies is currently deemed most acceptable and B.) community bonds are established and reinforced. The tension between these two forces has a number of implications for macro-level decision-making in Amish communities about how to design communication flows, how to regulate technology use and how to interface with the global information society which they are increasingly dependent on to acquire financial resources.
At the moment, I am also working on a project with Professor Amy Gonzales examining how cell phones are used among low-income individuals to access health care and social services.
Generally, my research has a disciplinary grounding in the field of communication and the subfield of social informatics. From this perspective, I aim to understand how communication technologies are being used as political, moral and ethical tools that organize human relationships in patterned ways. At the heart of my research is an ambition to answer the question: “how can new communication technologies be used for the social good?”
My anticipated graduation date is May of 2014.