Based on longitudinal qualitative research involving twenty families with at least one child aged eight or younger, the article provides an account of how families, as distinctive communicative figurations, adopt, use and make sense of smart speakers through diverse socially situated practices. Findings show that parents and children enter in a communicative relationship with smart speakers based on their attribution of human-like or machine-like traits to the device, and the device response to their expectations. Moreover, engaging in communicative practices through and with smart speakers, family members subvert or reinforce existing power relations. However, smart speakers acquire new agency by intensifying the datafication and algorithmification of everyday life, thus entailing a shift in power dynamics between humans and machines.



Author ORCID Identifier

Giovanna Mascheroni: 0000-0002-6939-2650