Dr Rowan Wilken

Faculty of Life and Social Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology


Current Research Interests

There are two strands to my present research.

The first strand is concerned with investigating the interconnections and interactions between ICTs and notions of place and community. Within this, I have been interested in tracing how ideas of place and community circulate in writing on computer-mediated communications, and how this play of ideas shapes critical and wider understanding of online social interaction. My research is strongly interdisciplinary in orientation, and draws from a range of disciplinary fields - including cultural studies, media and communications, philosophy, sociology, and architectural theory, among others. A key aim of this facet of my work is to examine what relevance place and community might continue to have in the present electronic age.

More recently, I have pursued these concerns specifically in relation to mobile phone use by looking at how mobile phone use leads to transformed understandings of place, and how mobile use can be understood in relation to social theory and social capital debates.

The second strand involves a project that is concerned with tracing the passage that media and communications technologies take as they pass from 'new', to ubiquitous, to semi-invisible. This project looks at routine uses of home-office technologies, and aims to discover and reveal the cultural and social complexity of our interactions with everyday technologies, and what familiarity and routine usage patterns mask or reveal about human-technology interaction.