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Between you and I : Mediated love in long distance relationships

Battjes, Marloes M. (2019) Between you and I : Mediated love in long distance relationships.

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Abstract:Long-distance relationships are possible mostly because of the rise of options in communication tools. Using uncertainty reduction theory by Honeycutt & Planalp (1988), media richness theory by Daft and Lengel (1986), technological mediation and appropriation by Ihde (1990) and Verbeek (2015), this study explores how Western citizens maintain their long-distance relationship through the use of computer-mediated communication. Twenty-eight members of the target group were interviewed in a semi-structured way. Participants expressed why and how they used specific media, for what purpose, how it affected the content of their conversations, if it created a sense of uncertainty, as well as whether or not it affected their autonomy. The results of show that media usage is vastly different per couple, where each actively chooses the medium for their message. Romantic relationships are maintained via a variety of texts, instant messaging, audio calls and video calls. The conclusion is that, although computer-mediated communication can’t substitute for face-to-face interaction, there are aspects of communication media that are beneficial for those in long-distance relationships such as availability, simulating eating together, the option of deep conversations and asynchronous messaging. Uncertainty and a reduction of autonomy are, however, negative side-effects of computer-mediated communication in long distance relationships.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:02 science and culture in general, 05 communication studies, 08 philosophy
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Keywords:Digital media, Computer-mediated communication, Mediation, Appropriation, Long-distance relationships, Uncertainty reduction
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