Negotiating connection without convention: the management of presence, time and networked technology in everyday life

Burchell, Kenzie. 2012. Negotiating connection without convention: the management of presence, time and networked technology in everyday life. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis explores the social processes through which technological change and technologies themselves are negotiated in everyday life. I look to interpersonal communication as a site of such negotiation and focus on the networked practices that extend from mobile telephones, personal computers, and online social platforms. The management of everyday life and interpersonal relationships are shaped by practices of communication management that work through the use of these technologies. I extend and inflect the phenomenological approach to co-presence in interpersonal communication, also reassessing notions of time, for the context of constant networked connection. Drawing from divergent theoretical approaches for understanding technology, an entry point for this thesis was formulated through social interaction. A grounded qualitative approach was used to engage with individuals’ experience of interpersonal communication across everyday domains and contexts of activity. A selection of 35 participants was asked to complete two in-depth interviews, thinking-aloud tasks, and a communication diary. The empirical findings are explored from three perspectives. First, individuals’ relationships to communication tools as objects in an everyday environment are understood for the perceived temporal pressures and a need for networked connection. Second, individuals’ management of those pressures is explored through their imposition of individually controlled barriers to interaction, through which domains of activity are managed by communication practices as relational domains, developing a form of networked awareness between individuals. Third, I examine the forms of negotiation taking place through the interdependency of individual practices, captured by notions of authenticity and perceptions of technologies, as well as a discourse about technology that is enacted through practice rather than communicated through content, what I call meta-communication. I conclude that the negotiated use and role of technologies in interpersonal relationships has implications for the negotiation of wider social changes to the role of technology and to everyday life itself.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)


Everyday life, Co-Presence, Networked Presence, Networked Absence, Time, Networked Technology, Mobile Communication, Meta-communication, Phenomenology, Goffman

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


10 April 2012

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

25 Apr 2013 10:23

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 08:35


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