Domestic Spatiality, Changes, and Permanences in the Information Age

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Abstract

Spatiality is the central theme of this research, demarcated by the domestication of the internet within the middleclass household. This phenomenon is addressed from three constitutive realities of spatiality: habituality, interaction, and presence; together, they state how coexistence with digital space has produced profound changes in the way people inhabit at the household scale. Spatiality, under this approach, studies the production of social space based on the use given to physical space through the shift of meaning that lived space has had, before and after the assimilation of the internet as the dominant communication system. The objective is to reveal the production of domestic space in the information age. How can domestic spatialities produced by the superposition of digital space as a new layer of social space be explained? The methodology designed, based on semi-structured interviews and surveys, allowed the interpretation of data collected from college students from New York (SUNY) and Mexico (UASLP). The findings of the study revealed that everyday life practices are nowadays performed simultaneously in two types of spaces; one defined by the ever present, being online and connected to the Internet; the other, configured by the physical-symbolical places of human existence. This new condition has modified the configuration process of spatiality, as observed through family tensions and members’ behavior, re-signification, and indistinct use of domestic space and time. The implications of the results provide a rich source for socio-spatial studies through a complex understanding of interrelations between individuals, digital space, and lived space at home.