WhatsApp as 'technology of life': Reframing research agendas


  • Edgar Gómez Cruz
  • Ramaswami Harindranath




In this paper, we present a few ethnographic vignettes on the use of WhatsApp from a study in Mexico City. We suggest WhatsApp is a paradigmatic example of how a particular technology becomes an infrastructure to sustain, and therefore shape, a wide range of quotidian activities, from personal to economic, from spiritual to political. WhatsApp exemplifies what we call technologies of life, as such technologies mediate almost all aspects of social life. On this basis, we propose two interventions into the research agenda that go beyond data-centric approaches and focus on the lived-experiences of individuals, families, and communities.

Author Biographies

Edgar Gómez Cruz

Senior Lecturer in Media (Digital Cultures) at the School of the Arts and Media at the University of New South Wales in Sydney

Ramaswami Harindranath

Professor of Media at the School of Arts and Media, University of New South Wales, Sydney




How to Cite

Cruz, E. G., & Harindranath, R. (2020). WhatsApp as ’technology of life’: Reframing research agendas. First Monday, 25(12). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v25i12.10405