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New media and the balance of work and home life. How IT-use affects the boundaries of daily activities.

Research project
Pågående forskning
Project size
3 600 000
Project period
2015 - 2020
Project owner
Unit for Human Geography, Department of Economy and Society

Financier
Marianne och Marcus Wallenbergs Stiftelse

Short description

Current research hypothesizes that the increased use of IT and new media encourage a process of fragmentation of everyday activities. Fragmentation implies that formerly holistic activities, such as work, that used to take place during certain time-periods and on certain places, now are disaggregated into subtasks that that are scattered in time and space. Some subtasks/activity fragments, are virtual (performed online) while others are place bound, some are conducted at home and others at work, while traveling etc. The process of fragmentation is assumed to affect almost all activities of daily life (shopping, work, family, social contacts, leisure). It also implies a use of time and place that increasingly is characterized by a mixture of activities that belong to different spheres of life and eroding traditional work/family boundaries.

There is a lack of empirically based knowledge on how the process of fragmentation and spatial decoupling really operates and to what extent it affects people’s everyday life, their time use and activity patterns – at work and at home – and associated implications for the individual and society at large.

In this project we therefore investigate how the conditions for everyday life change due to the rapid digitalization that actually take place. The specific aim is to investigate the temporal and spatial fragmentation of work- and home-related activities, and how the process affects work/family interactions and individual’s perception of stress and autonomy in daily life.

The project is directed towards as set of related, concrete research questions: (i) How has people’s use of time and place for work and other daily activities changed in the population during the last decade, a period of heavily increased ICT use? (ii) How does the process of activity fragmentation affect groups of people living under different conditions, with respect to gender, type of employment and work hours, household resources, place of living and commuting needs? (iii) How is the work situation and the temporal and spatial conditions for work changing; is for example working at a distance (teleworking), or while travelling and other mobile forms of work increasing? (iii) How does the process of fragmentation affect interactions between work and family life in (for example, as regards the division of household tasks and responsibilities; and free time activities) among men and women? (iv) What are the implications for perceived quality of life, for example in terms of autonomy and stress in everyday life?