Connectedness in mobile families
European Society for Socially Embedded Technologies (EUSSET)
Family life is no longer confined to geographically shared spaces. More often, families are separated. T echnology offers countless means of keeping families connected, which has been subject of extensive research. Yet, connection between families goes beyond interpersonal communication. Being separated from extended family means to be separated from familiar rituals, habits, and values. In this paper we present an ethnographic study of mobile families to understand how families are dealing with this kind of separation in their everyday life. We analyze situated practices and discuss how these families create a sense of connectedness to their country of origin. Our observations show that design for connectedness should address practices and materialities that are part of the family home. Furthermore, we argue that there should be more consideration for what the family connects to: Instead of connecting between people, connectedness can also be seen as staying in touch with familiar routines, customs, and environments.