6 March 2012

Family, Play, and Sports in an Online World

An open research seminar about mediatization of culture

Aarhus University, May 7-8, 2012

Today, digital media are influencing many cultural fields as they reconfigure and diversify processes of communication and social interaction in profound ways. This situation calls for reformulations of our general understanding of the role of media and the interplay between media and culture. At this seminar we intend to explore how new digital media contribute to changes in three cultural fields: family, play and sports.

Family life, children’s play and sports are connected areas that for many years have been saturated by media and therefore been intertwined with and defined by processes of mediatization. But until now this process has mainly been understood in the light of affordances and ‘logics’ stemming from mass media. How do digital media affect family life and our general understanding of ‘home’ and the ways in which the family at ’home’  - through media – is related to each other and to the outside world? How do digital media change the ways in which we experience, communicate, practice, and organize play and sports? How do uses and practices of new media converge with those related to mass media? And what is actually new in new media when it comes to influence the areas of family, play and sport?

These are some of the questions that will be addressed from both theoretical and empirical approaches by international and Danish scholars representing different strands of research within media studies.

The seminar is public and organised by the research project, Mediatization of Culture: The Challenge of New Media. No registration is required.


Aarhus University
Conference Centre
Fredrik Nielsens Vej
8000 Århus C.
Conference room 2, building 1421


May 7

  • 11.00-:                      Welcome by Stig Hjarvard, Professor and Director of Research project.
  • 11.00 – 12.00:          Domesticating the impossible? Mobility, mediality and the domestic by Maren Hartmann, Associate Professor, University of the Arts, Berlin
  • 12.00 – 13.00:          From mediatopes to media-utopia? Digital media at home, on the move, and in the cloud by Thilo von Pape, Researhc Associate, University of Hohenheim
  • 13.00-14.00:             Lunch break    
  • 14.00 – 15.00:          The Parent App: Understanding Families in the Digital Age by Lynn Schofield Clark, Associate Professor, University of Denver
  • 15.00 – 15.30:          Coffee break
  • 15.30 – 16.30:          Doing a filmed fieldwork with different kinds of `field bodies by Ida Winther, Associate Professor, Aarhus University
  • 16.30 – 17.00:          The Mediatization of Parenthood by Maja Sonne Damkjaer, PhD fellow, Aarhus University

May 8

  • 10.00 – 11.00:          Sports journalists, social media and the fan: a new conversation? by Richard Haynes, Professor, University of Stirling
  • 11.00 – 12.00:          Playing and living football – being a football boy or girl by Stine Liv Johansen, Assistant Professor, Aarhus University                          
  • 12.00 – 13.00:          Lunch break
  • 13.00 – 14.00:          Conversing the fans: “Cover it live” and the changing role of sports journalists by Steen Steensen, Associate Professor, Oslo and Akershus University College
  • 14.00 – 15.00:          Sports Media – Old and New Logics? by Kirsten Frandsen, Associate Professor, Aarhus University

More info

The seminar is public and both colleagues and students are welcome. It will be possible to buy lunch and coffee nearby the meeting room.

Inquiries:  to Kirsten Frandsen - imvkf@hum.au.dk


Domesticating the impossible? Mobility, mediality and the domestic

Maren Hartmann, Associate Professor, University of the Arts, Berlin

This talk will concentrate on the challenges (and opportunities) that digital media provide for our understanding of domesticity - and therefore also for the domestication concept. How are media appropriated in times of mobile media and changing perceptions as well as actions in relation to mobility and mediality? Next to offering a new concept to grasp these changes, the talk will concentrate on the empirical and methodological implications of research in this field.

From mediatopes to media-utopia? Digital media at home, on the move, and in the cloud

Thilo von Pape, Associate Researcher, University of Hohenheim

The domestication of digital media is often described as a "mutual shaping" between media technologies on the one hand and users as individual and social entities on the other hand. The presentation will develop the concept of mediatopes as places of media use which are not only marked by this process, but also leave their own mark on it. The heuristic value of the concept will be shown through empirical findings on the evolution of mediatopes as users appropriate mobile and cloud based technologies.

The Parent App: Understanding Families in the Digital Age

Lynn Schofield Clark, Associate Professor, University of Denver

The presentation reflects on qualitative research into U.S. families that my research team and I have conducted over the past ten years. My work is at the intersections of mediatization, medium theory, cultural sociology, and actor-network-theory.  I propose that to understand the role of media in the changes influencing family life, we need to consider both the affordances of digital and mobile media, and the patterns of communication that shape family practices of technology use.  My book argues that there are two distinct patterns in how families communicate that are shaping media use in the digital age, and each of these patterns are both rooted in particular histories and are now evolving in relation to digital and mobile media affordances.  Among upper income families, I observe an ethic of expressive empowerment, in which parents encourage their children to use these media in relation to education and self-development and to avoid use that might distract them from goals of achievement.  Among lower income families, I observe what I term an ethic of respectful connectedness, in which family members are encouraged to use digital and mobile media in ways that are respectful, compliant toward parents, and family focused.  Because there remain distinct gradations of digital inclusion (Livingstone, 2007) and as U.S. families experience lives that are increasingly isolated from those whose economic circumstances differ from their own, the uses of these media are reinforcing rather than alleviating what is becoming a troubling economic and social gap in U.S. society.

Doing a filmed fieldwork with different kinds of `field bodies´

Ida W. Winther, Associate Professor, Aarhus University

The everyday life happens. Gradually, it has become trivial to speak of the fact that everyday life is made through practices and processes, and how it is written into space, time and place. The every day is both solid and liquid, and embedded and changeable.  Comprehending this demands the development of new methods by putting well-known elements together in new ways and through working with different types of performative practices.  I did a field on an isolated island, and I was interested in how children play, are together, use mobile phones, Facebook …. I took my son and a camera with me, and gave the kids cameras as well.  The aim for this talk is how the researcher (me) works with different kinds of ‘fieldbodies’ in this kind of shared anthropology. Clip from my new anthropological film “Children’s everyday life at Christianø” (2012) will be included.

The Mediatization of Parenthood

Maja Sonne Damkjaer, Research fellow, Aarhus University

Becoming a parent entails major emotional, practical, and social changes as well as a need for support and guidance. Over the course of several generations, interpersonal media (letters and calls to family and friends) and mass media (distributing generic counseling and information) have accommodated these needs. Today the Internet offers a variety of new interactive, individualized, and personalized media providing counseling (e.g., pediatric information), social interaction (e.g., online communities), commercial services (e.g., child equipment stores) and all-in-one solutions: parent web sites. At the same time new social media (e.g., Facebook) provide a new opportunity to showcase parenthood through personal stories, photos, and videos. Our knowledge of how parenthood is affected by and unfolds within this media intervention, however, is limited. This presentation discusses how the contemporary complex media environment affects parenthood and argues that Internet media facilitate and constitute a radicalized parenthood reflectivity and a new kind of mediatized and aestheticized parental facework.

Sports journalists, social media and the fan: a new conversation?

Richard Haynes, Professor and Director, Stirling Media Research Institute, University of Stirling

This paper examines the extent to which social media are transforming sports journalism, in particular focusing on the ways in which media-source relations between journalism and the ‘world of sport’ (its stars and their fans) are changing. Moreover, it is also about how the relationship between sports journalists and their audience is being transformed by ‘a new conversation’ taking place inside social media. This involves asking questions about how information about sport is circulated in the context of social media? How such information is sourced and produced in to news stories? And asking what new storytelling techniques have emerged in sports journalism to accommodate social media forms?

Playing and Living Football – being a football boy or girl

Stine Liv Johansen, Assistant Professor, Aarhus University

Changes in the conditions for children’s play culture over the last decades have increased the importance of media providing inspiration for play. The practice of playing soccer has in many ways always been related to media, yet new media provide new ways of living out ones identity as a football boy or – girl, within the family, in peer culture, and in organized leisure activities. This presentation addresses the wide range of mediatized practices and texts permeating everyday life among children aged 8-12.

Conversing the fans: "Cover it Live" and the changing role of sports journalists 

Steen Steensen, Associate Professor, Oslo and Akershus University College

This presentation focuses on what happens when online sports journalists combine immediacy in reporting with audience participation. The diffusion of software like "Cover it Live" has in recent years increased both immediacy in reporting and the degree of audience participation in online newspapers, especially related to live sports events like football mathces. I will present two case studies of such reporting - live coverage of football matches in the Norwegian online newspapers dagbladet.no and VG Nett. By a combination of newsroom observation, interviews, content analysis and conversation analysis, the aim of these case studies are 1) to shed light on what new norms and values such practices promote for journalists, and 2) to analyse the discursive practice such immediate, partcipatory journalism represents, i.e who gets to talk to whom, how power is distributed among partcipants, etc. 

Sports Media – Old and New Logics?

Kirsten Frandsen, Associate Professor, Aarhus University

Sport and media have for many years been closely related and influenced each other when nurturing mutual interests. Currently this relationship is undergoing sweeping changes, as both individuals and organisations on both sides see themselves involved with a convergent and increasingly complex media environment mixing different logics but also paving the way for new types of agents, partnerships and not the least new types of experiences with sport. The emergence of digital media means that scarcity in terms of both content and access is substituted by plenitude. In this presentation it will be discussed in what terms the current situation can be said to constitute a new phase of mediatization as a new mix of media logics stemming from both traditional mass media and digital media are at work.