Left to Our Own Devices: Navigating the Risks of Work & Love with Personal Technologies

Ticona, Julia, Sociology - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Corse, Sarah, Department of Sociology, University of Virginia

This dissertation draws on 86 in-depth interviews with high and low-status workers in three cities across the U.S. to examine how people use their personal digital devices in strategies to navigate economic insecurity, and the ways their emotions about their devices provide a map to understand the intimate consequences of contemporary capitalism. The research shows that personal devices, most importantly smartphones, allow an increasing number of people to cope with and control chaotic social circumstances caused by neoliberal economic and social policies. However, in so doing, these strategies reinforce narratives of individual responsibility for the problems that result from economic insecurity, both at work and in intimate life, and exacerbate inequalities between those at the top and bottom of the income ladder.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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