CONFIGURING MATERIALITY, MOBILITY, AND MULTIACTIVITY: INTERACTIONS WITH OBJECTS IN CARS
Keywords:cars, driving, materiality, mobility, multiactivity, objects, participation
AbstractThis paper explores how material objects feature within social interaction in the car. Objects in the car commonly include phones or other technologies, food, bags and carry items, body care products, written materials, clothing, and toys. The paper considers two examples to show how participants’ interaction with objects can be occasioned and conducted. In the first, driver spontaneously initiates involvement with the object to materially support an already-developing course of social activity (singing to passenger). In the second, driver prepares an object as a new focus of social activity with passenger (an envelope containing photos and a thank-you card). In both cases, we see especially how driver and passenger, as both vehicle occupants and social participants, organise the demands of attending to and handling objects with the dynamic demands of driving, and relative to the car’s movement in the external environment. We see how driver, in particular, embodiedly orients to objects (gaze, handling) so that driving is treated as the primary activity in a multiactivity setting. This study therefore highlights interaction in cars as a site for configuring materiality, mobility, and multiactivity. Data examples are from a corpus (27 hours, 90 journeys) of video recordings of ordinary car journeys in Australia. The language is English.
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