Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings

At Home in the Field: From Objects to Lifecycles

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Abstract

In this paper, we explore how biographies of domestic objects are intertwined with the personal biographies of their owners and caretakers, narratives of household formation, and the life cycle of the family, and how we position the value of this work to business planners and engineers at Intel Corporation. By being curious and interested in objects in people's homes and listening carefully to the narratives people tell about them, we create moving pictures of culturally-inflected constructions of individuals' and groups' lifecycles which in turn demonstrates how ‘objects’ are not ‘objective’, but always constituted and given meaning through relationships with and among people. At Intel Corporation, understanding life cycle transitions mediated by domestic objects deepens our knowledge both of technology in domestic spaces and of our current and potential customers and is an integral part of the development of technologies that enable experiences people will value.

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