Domestication of Smart Home Technologies

  • Tom HargreavesEmail author
  • Charlie Wilson
Part of the Human–Computer Interaction Series book series (HCIS)


This chapter draws on in-depth qualitative data to explore how 10 households domesticated smart home technologies (SHTs) over a nine month period as part of the SHT field trial described in Chap.  1. The analysis is situated within the socio-technical view of smart homes and their users in our analytical framework (Table  2.1). We explore the co-evolution of SHTs and their users, and the forms of work and learning engaged in by householders when they adopt SHTs. We identify three distinct domestication pathways for SHTs which show why it is so important to pay close attention to homes as complex places and settings for the adoption and use of new technologies. In each of these pathways, we explain the negotiations, conflicts and resistances that SHTs generate as they are domesticated, and the multiple and sometimes uneven roles that different householders play in this process. We also demonstrate how the introduction of SHTs into homes can serve to disrupt and re-domesticate other aspects of the domestic environment. Pre-existing domestic technologies must be fitted-in with the newly ‘smart’ home. Three core themes emerge from this new analysis. First, SHTs are both technically and socially disruptive. Second, householders must adopt a range of adaptation strategies to cope with the disruption that SHTs generate and which can limit their use and potential. Third, domesticating SHTs requires considerable work from householders for which there is currently very little support available.


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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Science, Society and Sustainability Research Group (3S), School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK
  2. 2.Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK

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