The domestication of the internet. Reconstructing the processes of adopting new media at home from 1997-2007.

Period March 2008 to October 2010
Conductor Prof. Dr. Jutta Röser
Dr. Corinna Peil
Institution Department of Communication Science and Media Culture, Leuphana University of Lüneburg
Funding Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
Presentations Vortragsliste
Publications List of publications

The project focuses on reconstructing how the internet entered the domestic sphere as a new medium and how it was integrated into German households. It found its starting point due to the wide diffusion of the internet since 1997 that went along with the observation that this diffusion was driven by the private, domestic use of the medium. For instance, in 1997 only seven percent of all German citizens used the internet, while in 2005 the rate was already up to 58 percent. And ever since 2003 the internet opened up for the wide population. People who were previously known as little internet-affine were now deciding to appropriate a private internet access. Thus, the internet, formerly used by the working elite, transformed into an everyday medium.

The project reconstructed reasons and characteristics of these adoption processes between 1997 and 2007 and analyzed the consequences of domestic internet use for the private daily (media) routine. Methodologically, the study is based on a triangulation of quantitative and qualitative instruments. The research design consisted of a secondary analysis of representative, partially unpublished data from the ARD/ZDF-Onlinestudien, combined with ethnographically oriented household studies. In this context, 25 heterosexual couples varying in age and education level were interviewed. In doing so, a comprehensive understanding of the domestic adoption of the internet was established.

Theoretically, the project is based on the theory of domestication and Cultural Media Studies. It examined the entrance of the internet in the homes in retrospective and analyzed how its usage became routinized due to processes of integration in everyday life. In addition to that, the study conducted the domestic media use of people with internet access in 2008. It focused on the domestic context as a base for adoption processes and as an impulse for the diffusion of new media technologies. In association with that, possible factors that may trigger or interfere with the internet participation were examined. The role of gender in daily media routines was of peculiar interest.

The project was finished in October 2010, although the studies of the households are continued within the context of the DFG-projects „The Mediatized Home I-III“. Central findings of this study were published in the article „Using the Domestication Approach for the Analysis of Diffusion and Participation Processes of New Media.“ (Röser & Peil), which was released in 2012 in: Bilandzic Helena, Patriarche, Geoffroy, Traudt Paul J. (Eds.), The Social Use of Media. Cultural and Social Scientific Perspectives on Audience Research. Bristol/Chicago: intellect. Other publications based on the project are listed on the publication site of Prof. Dr. Jutta Röser.