The materiality of morality in everyday family life

Have you ever wanted a thing so bad that you engaged in a physical fight with your sibling? Have you ever been reprimanded for your use of, for example, cutlery, Christmas ornaments or a vacuum cleaner by a sibling or parent? And have you ever considered how the things themselves invite us to act, evoke certain reactions, and affect our everyday lives? These are some of the questions I ask in my research.

My research centers around morality and materiality in everyday family life. By studying video recordings of 12 families across Sweden and paying attention to the activities that the children and parents engage in, I look at how everyday sibling- and family morality is done in relation to, and through, the materiality of their lives. I study how everyday, mundane things such as e.g. cups, vacuum cleaners, tomatoes, hammers, milk, toothpaste and toys, co-produce and become the center of local family morality.

My thesis is a part of a bigger project that studies, amongst other things, embodied morality in the everyday life of Swedish families. My research is marked by an effort to equally consider both things and human action in how everyday family life and morality is done. I draw on science and technology studies (STS), childhood studies and multimodal interaction analysis in order to accomplish this. I study everyday family interaction and morality as complexly enacted by a network of multiple non-human and human entities.



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