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Dissertation Information for Eric Christopher Cook

NAME:
- Eric Christopher Cook

DEGREE:
- Ph.D.

DISCIPLINE:
- Library and Information Science

SCHOOL:
- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (USA) (2011)

ADVISORS:
- Stephanie D. Teasley

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
- Michael Cohen
- Steven Jackson
- Christopher M Peterson

MPACT Status: Fully Complete

Title: Biography, Well-being and Personal Media: A Qualitative Study of Everyday Digital Photography Practices

Abstract: Debates persist in both popular discourse and the academic literature about the relationships between technology use and well-being. In my dissertation research, I investigate these relationships within a particular set of practices: personal and everyday digital photography production and sharing. Synthesizing across literature from anthropology, sociology, psychology, human-computer interaction, social computing and information studies, I draw a connection between the evidentiary and communicative aspects of photography and the ways in which biographies, personal narratives and life stories relate to an individual's sense of well-being.

I put forth two research questions in response. First, how are biographies built and maintained in the context of personal digital photography--how is the biographical work of this mode of personal media accomplished? Second, can we establish and describe the relationships between personal photography biographical work and well-being?

I addressed these research questions by conducting a qualitative study of 23 photographers, using at-home interview and observation sessions as primary data, coupled with a variety of participant-specific secondary data, such as photographic media and electronic communications, both private and public.

The main contribution of this dissertation is the development of an analytical model of biography work, set in the specific context of personal digital photography. In response to my first research question, I identify five main types of biography work in the data: procedural work, representational management work, connection work, introspective work and interest/hobby work. I describe a variety of sub-themes representative of each type of work, as well as ways in which those practices are mutually supportive. In response to my second research question, I illustrate the interconnections between photography practices, biography work and well-being, while emphasizing these connections are neither linear nor singular in character.

By focusing on a specific setting of personal media within this broader debate about technology and well-being, I provide a specific contextualization of the relationships between tools, practices and well-being at the level of the individual. In so doing, I advance investigation of the topic beyond deterministic impact models of technology, emphasizing instead the bounded agency of the individual to deploy available socio-technical resources.

MPACT Scores for Eric Christopher Cook

A = 0
C = 0
A+C = 0
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2012-07-31 10:39:52

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Students under Eric Christopher Cook

ADVISEES:
- None

COMMITTEESHIPS:
- None