Polymedia Distinctions

The Sociocultural Stratification of Interpersonal Media Practices in Couple Relationships

Open access


“Polymedia”, a concept introduced by Madianou and Miller (2012), refers to the everyday conditions of abundant media resources. Whereas such conditions imply that the classificatory processes concerning media as cultural properties become increasingly complex, few studies have tried to produce a general picture of how interpersonal media practices are part of sociocultural reproduction. This study is based on a nationwide survey conducted in Sweden in 2012 and focuses on mediated communication among “polymedia couples” (39 percent of all Swedish couples). The article demonstrates that sociocultural factors are important for explaining media uses, also when media accessibility is more or less unlimited, and pinpoints how preferences for certain modalities of communication are linked to other lifestyle practices as markers of taste. Most notably, email communication attains a higher sociocultural status than online chat functions and social media, testifying to the enduring significance of asynchronous, text-based communication in a longer format as a culturally distinctive mode of intimate communication.

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Nordicom Review

Journal from the Nordic Information Centre for Media and Communication Research (Nordicom)

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CiteScore 2017: 0.61

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.380
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.472

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