Moving Out of View

Managing Participation and Visibility in Family Video-Mediated Communication


  • Yumei Gan School of Media and Communication, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
  • Darcey K. deSouza Oklahoma State University



Affordances, Video-mediated communication, visibility, mobility, family communication, conversation analysis


The technological affordances of video-mediated communication (VMC) allow family members to sustain relationships at a distance. In this paper, based on 45 hours of video recorded family video calls in the US and China, we use the methodology of Conversation Analysis to examine one recurrent activity in our corpus: people moving out of camera view and becoming not visible during their video calls. We show how, depending on interactants’ current involvement in the call, temporarily suspending visibility occurs in tandem with suspending participation, but not always. This study makes unique contributions to reconceptualizing the relation between the technological affordances of visibility and people’s mobility and participation in family video calls, furthering the notion of what “open” connections look like in practice.  


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How to Cite

Gan, Y., & deSouza, D. K. (2022). Moving Out of View: Managing Participation and Visibility in Family Video-Mediated Communication. Social Interaction. Video-Based Studies of Human Sociality, 5(2).