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Topical Introduction

Mention “technologies of home,” and most people will think of refrigerators, modems, air conditioning, and so on. Such things do play a role in valid conceptualizations of “home” in the present day. Still, these thoughts are a bit obvious and limited. To stretch conceptual range, we study how technology shapes many domestic lives. Consider this example: when people reposition furniture in their homes to “make life easier” for a bot, they change their daily patterns for a machine. It’s a bit melodramatic to ask, who is really running such homes? Still, the normality of changes like this can cast doubt on received notions of home. By considering such changes, we learn to think more critically.

Received notions can have merit. But as homes change under pressure from technology, analysts eager to track evolving domestic realities see cause to interrogate both concepts. Here’s another example: an uncritical sense of “home” will often emphasise stability symbolised by four stout walls. Does this sense make the four walls a technology of home? If so, does this symbolisation hamper investigation of plumbing or of the more wall-contained use of bots as domestic cleaners? What about when bot-use is resisted: how do resistors conceptualise (or articulate) the tried-and-true wall notion? As these preliminary thoughts suggest, a lively issue in this module is how use of technology (which includes refusing to use a given form of technology) can be a vital form of home-making.

No technological expertise is needed to learn a lot this module. All that is needed is to have experienced home life, or to plan to home-make some day.

Rhetorical Introduction

An easy way to catch hold of the concept “rhetoric” is to think of handling situations that are similar, yet vary. When the specifics of a situation shift, communicators who are alert to rhetoric will shift too. Example: you need to ask a favour. Do you ask in the same way when the person is your friend, your young cousin, an older person, a prospective employer at the second interview? Probably not; probably, you adjust. Good reason to adjust is that the circumstances have changed.  In this module, we discuss adjustments that include making contact with different audiences, and conveying ideas in diverse communicative forms: academic essays, of course, but also videos, reflective essays and sources you find. As you practice adjusting, a steady goal is to write (and think) with clear purpose and sustained focus. We devote much thought, too, to the vital task of handling evidence carefully.

We begin by opening up inquiry by noticing disparate conceptualizations of home. Then, you craft a multi-source analysis that 'makes a case'. Finally, you craft a reflective essay about your learning. Each unit expands your thought-processes. Yet at the same time, each unit helps you develop rhetorical alertness which strengthens your ability to convey expanded thinking to other intelligences which are as unique as your own.