‘Are You Fed up with Your PC? Get A Mac.’ Swedish Popular Media Representations of Digital Technologies and the Stockpiling Behavior of Consumers

Jennie Olofsson

Abstract


This article offers a speculative reading on the linkage between Swedish popular media representations of digital technologies and peoples’ stockpiling behavior. The hypothesis is that Swedish popular media representations of digital technologies contribute to fuelling an understanding of these technologies as resource-free, consumable goods, and that this in turn might affect peoples’ tendencies to stockpile obsolete digital technologies in their homes. Previous studies have shown that stockpiling of obsolete electrical and electronic equipment is a common phenomenon in many countries (see for comparison Grossman, 2006; Saphores et al., 2006, 2009; Lescak, 2008; Gabrys, 2011). At the same time, little light is shed on why people stockpile obsolete electrical and electronic equipment in their homes. This article focuses particularly on digital technologies such as computers, televisions, smart phones, cell phones, laptops and tablets. Digital technologies are interesting as they account for a large – and increasing – amount of electrical and electronic equipment. Looking at the ways in which Swedish popular media represent digital technologies, this article suggests that popular media representations of digital technologies matter, not only in the ways people imagine and use digital technologies, but also the ways in which we think (or choose not to think) about their afterlife. The hypothesis is that the ways in which Swedish popular media represent digital technologies obstruct environmentally sound disposal and reuse options, something that in turn serves to cement and/or reinforce contemporary consumption behaviors and the environmental impacts that follow. By this, this article provides additional insights into what appears to be a western tendency to store obsolete electrical and electronic equipment at home.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/smc.v3i1.721

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Studies in Media and Communication      ISSN 2325-8071 (Print)   ISSN 2325-808X (Online)

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