About the Project



The research aims to study how family and home life is constituted in
the car, with a particular emphasis on exploring the role and use of media in
this setting.  The research wishes to point to the cultural, social and technological organization of activity in the car that can be used in such a way so as to inform design that will consider the multi-faceted nature of car travel.

Why the car?

As interdisciplinary researchers from the social sciences and technology studies we are interested to study the car , given  it’s unique social and spatial configurations. This makes the use and negotiation of technologies particularly interesting as well as challenging. Our interests lie in :

  • Domestic features: The car as an extension of the family home (where family interactions, responsibilities and care take place)
  • Spatial features: A unique spatial configuration where face to face interactions are limited by the forward facing seats.
  • Social features: Supporting  (as well as inhibiting) particular types of social interaction between passengers and driver.
  • Contextual features: The journey’s impact on the interactions and conversations itself.
  • Routine features:‘Everydayness’ or routine practices of family car travel. This may be impacted by schedules and patterns of travel.

By studying how families occupy car spaces, the research sets to:

  • Document the varied domestic routines that take place during car journeys.
  • Implications for how families perceive this space, in terms of leisure, routine or as a work space and how the use of specific media may be appropriated in this context.
  • Study the car as a distinctive setting for media practices.
  • Study interaction around technology use.

This project is funded with the support of Microsoft Research Limited & the EPSRC

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