Challenges and Dilemmas in Everyday Life
The television, arguably more than any other domestic technology, influences how we ‘design our spaces, habits and even emotions’ (Lanvin 1990, 85). After sleeping and working, it is the activity that most occupies daily time, the ‘single most common form of domestic recreation’ (Bennett et al. 1999, 67). There is a television device now for every four human beings on earth, making it second only to the mobile phone (Chapter 14), ‘one of the most popular pieces of electrical and electronic equipment in our society’ (Hischier and Baudin 2010, 428). Television is a powerful symbol and presence in everyday life: an archetypal technology of consumerism, a sign of escape from peas- antry, an icon of suburban life, a principal means of communication and imag- ined community. This chapter accordingly discusses the sustainability dilemmas of televisions in the household. It is difficult to separate discussion of the environmental sustainability impacts of television from that technology’s myriad other impacts. Television influences all kinds of things. It informs and entertains, seduces, and pacifies; television is a means to advertise excessive consumption to broader popula- tions, and can lead to extreme human sedentarism (Hu et al. 2003). Television watching has been shown to reduce teenagers’ consumption of healthy fruit and vegetables, contributing to growing problems of child and youth obesity (Boynton-Jarrett et al. 2003). Beyond the immediate impacts associated with the production and running of televisions are broader entanglements and practices in the home.
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