ARTS1090 Week 2 Reading Blog

In ‘Domestication of Media and Technology’, Roger Silverstone portrays the concept of ‘domesticating’, that is to familiarise and make more acceptable, certain types of media into the home and everyday life. Silverstone’s central argument is that domestication is a process that goes hand in hand with social and technological change.

Silverstone explains that the process of domestication involves certain steps. Commodification is described as the step that involves the initial possession of new technology, which effectively sets up the rest of the process of domestication. Next comes conversion, which involves sharing and displaying the object, portraying a sense of possession, incorporating the piece, whether it be a new television, or other form of media.

Silverstone’s main method of presenting the concept of domestication is through objectification and incorporation, which involves placement and management of the technology at hand. Objectification and incorporation, according to Silverstone involve implementing the media practice into the patterns of everyday life, thus domesticating the practice, and making it part of our daily habits. Silverstone also claims that the injection of this new form of media is able to challenge the original forms of practice within family life, as well as our behavioural patterns.

Silverstone’s other method of portraying the sense of ‘domestication’ of media, is through referencing today’s world and the digital forms of technology that exist in society. Silverstone explains that media and technology are able to bring down barriers that may surround a person, and transform their perception of media and culture, thus domesticating media into everyday life.

Finally, Silverstone challenges the relationship between domestication and morality, and whether the two concepts can in fact work together, or represent two totally different ideals. Domestication is said to make something new, familiar. However, what is new may not always be moral. Technology progresses so quickly, that the morals of society may not always be able to keep up, so what is new now may not necessarily be acceptable in society, but perhaps so in the future. Ultimately, what Silverstone attempts to convey, is that domestication softens the impact of practices not seen as moral in current society, by incorporating such practices into everyday life, and making it part of daily routine.

Silverstone, Roger 2006, Domestication of Media Technology, Open Uni Press, pg. 229 – 248

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