Careful surveillance at play: human-animal relations and mobile media in the home

Ingrid Richardson, Larissa Hjorth, Yolande Strengers, William Balmford

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


When we first entered homes to study mobile games and home automation, we envisaged our projects would focus on humans and various modes of interaction and co-presence. Yet as our research progressed, it became clear that in many homes, humans and their pets are intimately entangled in various forms of digitally mediated kinship. In this chapter we consider how this entanglement takes place within the dynamic space of the household, affecting the agencies and spatial organization of the home. This chapter seeks to reflect upon how human and non-human relationality occurs in and around domestic media and the attendant ramifications for how digital visual research is configured and the techniques are deployed. First, we review some of the debates surrounding human-animal relations and look at how the use of pet wearables can generate non-Anthropocentric understandings of care and intimacy. Second, we explore some of the ways that pets become co-involved with humans in touchscreen games, by highlighting the cross-species nature of play, and considering what a ‘more-than-human’ taxonomy of haptic play within the home might look and feel like.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRefiguring Techniques in Digital Visual Research
EditorsEdgar Gómez Cruz, Shanti Sumartojo, Sarah Pink
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9783319612225
ISBN (Print)9783319612218
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameDigital Ethnography
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan


  • Careful surveillance
  • Human-animal relations
  • Wearables
  • Intimacy
  • Care

Cite this

Richardson, I., Hjorth, L., Strengers, Y., & Balmford, W. (2017). Careful surveillance at play: human-animal relations and mobile media in the home. In E. Gómez Cruz, S. Sumartojo, & S. Pink (Eds.), Refiguring Techniques in Digital Visual Research (pp. 105-116). (Digital Ethnography ; Vol. 1). Palgrave Macmillan.