Abstract - The Information Society 16(1)

ICTs in the Rush Hour of Life

Valerie Frissen

In the Netherlands, many women have entered the labor market in the last two decades. This development - among other social changes - has resulted in substantial shifts in the time that Dutch people spend on paid labor and 'caring tasks' on the one hand and leisure activities on the other hand. This task combination has caused serious time pressure and coordination problems among dual income families with children.Therefor, it is not exaggerated to label this stage of life as the 'rush hour of life'. In this article the findings of a small-scale qualitative case-study among these 'busy ' households are presented. The objective of this study is to describe and analyze patterns of acceptance and use of ICTs, especially telecommunication technologies, in the context of the everyday life of these households. The question is raised whether ICTs can be a solution to time pressure and coordination problems. Theoretically, the research is rooted in a user oriented perspective towards technological innovation, developed in the United Kingdom by Silverstone, Haddon and others, which understands the incorporation of ICTs into the everydaylife of households as a ‘domestication process’. A paradoxical conclusion of this study is that ICTs are not explicitly perceived as solutions to the communication and coordination problems these households experience in everyday life, although they are being used for solving these problems. This ambiguity seems characteristic for the acceptance of ICTs in everydaylife. The 'domestication' concept is a useful concept to describe these ambivalent and paradoxical processes of (non)acceptance and use.

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