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Chapter

Week 15: Reading Notes


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC356Y1
Professor
Jennifer Kayahara

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Week 15: Technology around the World
(Robinson&Martin: Off Time and Television)
TV has had more impact on daily time than any other household
technology
oViewing time little affected by the Internet and other new
technologies
Changes and Trends in Time Expenditure
Hypothesis of activity displacementfunctional equivalence
oA new technology will replace those activities whose functions were
served by previous technologies, as when the automobile replaced
the horse, etc.
oAnd, TV displaced other platforms of mass entertainment, such as
radio and movies.
TV owners spending less time in kinds of activities
1.Functionally equivalent mass media activities: such as radio,
movies, and light fiction print
Reduction in radio listening, decline in time at the movies,
and decline in book and magazine reading.
2.Social activities: outside the household
Offset somewhat by increases in visiting or social contact
inside the household
3.Non-free-time activities: particularly sleep, grooming, gardening
and laundry
The drop in these activities is largest of all
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By contrast, most other productive technologies, like automobiles or
washing machines, linked to increases in output (miles driven, for
example, or clothes cleaned) than to savings in time.
oWashing dishes with a dishwasher takes people no less time than
washing them by hand.
Viewing time for set owners averaged an hour and a half per day in the
1960s
TV viewing as a primary activity has steadily increased
oIn modern European countries, average viewing time is closer to
twelve hours per week with about the same amount of free time (35
to 40 hours)
The steady and dramatic U.S newspaper time decline (support for the
functional equivalence argument)
oThis drop is likely related to the rising prominence of TV news in
the late 1960s
Radio listening as a primary activity also declined
oBut it has reinvented itself as a secondary activityespecially while
driving
Time spent reading books and magazines has remained steady or
increased slightlyindicating that TV has not led to the death of print
oHowever, TV plays a further role in dramatically reducing the
reading of newspapers
The dominating impact of TV on free time in countries with the Internet
and personal computers
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oWhile most Internet usage at the work place, U.S diary studies
shows averages of about an hour and a half a week for home use of
Internet and computer
Less than one-tenth of the time devoted to TV
Evidences show that little if any displacement of TV by these new
technologies
What do people do when they are not watching?
oPaid-work and out-of-home leisure (like visiting, shopping,
participating in organizations) are mainly associated with less TV
viewing time
Work and more sleep and free time are correlated more
strongly for men
Childcare, shopping and social activities are correlated more
strongly for women
Changes Accompanying These Time Expenditures
multi-tasking and secondary activity such as house work or childcare,
when watching TV
oThis phenomenon occurred to people as they began to realize that
they need not pay strict attention to TV content
oViewers could process content without paying full attention
individualized experience
oMore sets in the home became available and more people live alone,
more viewing is done aloneproducing a more individualized
experience
oIt means that TV has become less of a social experience, in which
others can participate at the same time
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