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Digital Communication Technologies in Romantic Relationships

Schaubhut, Kristen M (2020) Digital Communication Technologies in Romantic Relationships. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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This thesis explores the use of ‘Digital Communication Technology’ (DCT) devices within committed monogamous romantic relationships through the analysis of forty-five semi-structured interviews. I argue that too often contemporary researchers are taking sides that the manner in which mobile devices and applications are used to communicate, are either good or bad and have either a positive or negative impact on interpersonal relationships. The technology itself is neither good nor bad but dependant on how it is used and the perceptions and expectations of the users. In this work, DCT related expectations and violations will be examined, as every individual will hold, at the minimum, subconscious expectations for how communication through DCT devices should be conducted. Within the overall contexts of interpersonal communication and intimacy, the research has been divided into four themes, exploring how DCT devices are actually being used to communicate, the concept of being constantly connected through a device, forms of technological control and monitoring, and the facilitation of intimacy through digital technology. I conclude that mobile communication devices continue to evolve and with that evolution comes an awareness that needs to be acknowledged, that within DCT, individuals will use and interpret communication through DCT devices and applications in different ways based on different norms. DCT devices are not a perfect mode of communication, but individuals may be well served by discussing their DCT related preferences and perceptions; as these conversations could build understanding between individuals and mitigate factors that could lead to arguments related to DCT use at a later date.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Romantic relationships, communication, technology, behaviour, expectations, perception
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Kristen Schaubhut
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2020 13:30
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2020 13:30

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