Dissertation Abstracts

Sense of Home Via ICT Applications: A qualitative exploration on space modification in the domestic realm by ICT application users

Author: Roei Bachar, roeibcr@gmail.com
Department: Sociology and Social Science
University: University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy
Supervisor: Prof. Fabio Quassoli
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Domestic Space , Home , ICT Technologies , Airbnb
Areas of Research: Conceptual and Terminological Analysis , Science and Technology , Visual Sociology


The private and the public spaces are defined areas in the urban life that transform to such as an outcome of the urban sphere. Nevertheless, those space had changed in the last decades and are still changing constantly. One of the more vivid debates today belongs to the increasing understanding about the fashion in which technology is responsible, or better yet, a serious and an active actor to those modifications. One central technological part of this change are the ICT applications. ICT refers to the ability to share knowledge, and mainly to interact with others, by using technology and avoid limitations of distance or lack of physical base to create this interaction. From a philosophical and a practical point of view, such applications create outstanding changes concerning our perception of space, just because of their ability to ignore and overcome fundamental spatial issues such as time, distance and density. That debate, that would be the focus of that research from the glance of home , is pressing the issue of how far, and how strongly do ICT applications could maneuver people's perception regarding using space and the ability to define it. Airbnb, probably the hottest brand of today's sharing economy trend, is such application that connects people around the world with others that have free space at their home and are willing to share and earn money for it. Nevertheless, Airbnb is only one successful example of numerous technologies and applications that influence directly the home and its definition as a private space, as a place. It is possible that such a transformation creates severe changes in the way people conceive and understand home. While this fundamental space of home might be losing its core definition, core meaning, it is possible that there is a change in the balance, the tension with the city and its own spaces, on the way for a new urban order. One that was never established before. In this research, I wish to explore how ICT applications such as Airbnb create a change in the way people define the place called home. The research aim would be to collect in a variety of methods (basic quantitative data, ethnography, interviews, and experimental visual analysis) diverse evidences that home as a space is conceived differently among ICT users, and that this change influence the tension between the city and home. Meaning, the research would seek to explore a cultural change in diverse locations (Milan, Jerusalem, Lisbon), that would allow a reflection on the meaning of home. A reflection about the meaning of the definition of spaces in the city and around home, while exploring how those influence each other, and what does it mean for the future of the urban life and the human condition. Understanding what is happening 'to' home could be the key to understand additional implications as multi-cultural issues and gender and gender roles inside home.