Materiality of Connectivity in the Networked Society: A Sociomaterial Perspective
This paper contributes to an emerging discourse on the meaning of technology in today’s networked society by exploring connectivity as a hallmark of the networked society. Based on an empirical study of professionals, arguably the forerunners of the networked society, the paper seeks to answer how connectivity matters. Rich narratives from in-depth interviews reveal the diverse ways materiality of connectivity is experienced and performed in the work practices and private lives of professionals. These findings challenge existing conceptual treatments of connectivity as a technical, social, or socio-technical phenomenon, and offer empirical grounding for a novel theoretical view of connectivity. The proposed sociomaterial theoretical framework identifies four different modes of connectivity that explain how connectivity matters to individuals: as materially experienced and enacted in specific sociomaterial practices. As a novel and refined view of connectivity the sociomaterial framework is important for future research on connectivity in the networked society.