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Palgrave Macmillan

Disconnecting with Social Networking Sites

ISBN 9781137022462
Publication Date September 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Ben Light puts forward an alternative way of thinking about how we engage with social networking sites, going beyond the emphasis upon connectivity that has been associated with research in the area to date. Analysing our engagements and disengagements with social networking sites in public (in cafes and at bus stops), at work (at desks, and photocopiers and whilst cleaning), in our personal lives (where we cull friends and gossip on backchannels) and as related to our health and wellbeing (where we restrict our updates), he emphasises the importance of disconnection instead of connection. The book, therefore, produces a theory of disconnective practice. This theory requires our attention to geographies of disconnection that include relations with a site, within a site, between sites and between sites and a physical world. Attention to disconnectors, as human and non-human is required, and the modes by which disconnection can occur can then be revealed. Light argues that diversity in the exercise of power is key to understanding disconnective practice where social networking sites are concerned, and he suggests that the ethics of disconnection may also require interrogation.

Ben Light is Professor of Digital Media Studies in the Creative Industries Faculty of the Queensland University of Technology, Australia. His research is concerned with the ongoing work people put into digital media in their attempts to make it suitable for their diverse needs, on an everyday basis.

List of Figures
List of Tables
1. The Connectivity Conundrum
2. Theorising Technological Appropriation
3. Acknowledging Mediators
4. Shaping Publics
5. Navigating Work
6. Personalising Use
7. Disclosing Health and Wellbeing
8. Towards a Theory of Disconnective Practice


'This is an elegantly theorised and engagingly written work which gets to the heart of the question of disconnection. This text is essential reading for internet researchers, students and scholars of social and cultural aspects of new technologies, indeed anyone who has ever wondered about the significance of their choices to connect or to disconnect.' - Alison Adam, Professor of Science, Technology and Society, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
'This insightful book suggests an important corrective to current directions in SNS research. By emphasizing disconnection rather than connection, Light provides a careful look at people's use and non-use of online applications that includes but goes beyond questions of technological determinism and agency. I highly recommend this book to anyone thinking about issues of online communication, social change, or human connections and disconnections more generally.' - Lori Kendall, President of the Association for Internet Research and Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
'Light has developed a highly convincing thesis of "disconnective practice" that is set to challenge the ways in which we currently think about our engagement with social network sites. This book will no doubt become essential reading for anyone interested in studying or teaching social network sites, social media and the internet more broadly.' Sian Lincoln, Senior Lecturer in Media Studies, Liverpool John Moores University, UK
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