Paradoxes of Digital dis/engagement: a follow up study (businesses and services)

Adi Kuntsman, Esperanza Miyake

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


This study emerges from our initial empirical seed project funded by CCN+ (Kuntsman andMiyake 2015) on digital dis-engagement, a term we coined to define a proactive form of citizenship which consciously resists, refuses and pushes against the current move towards the 'digital default'. Having developed a typology of motivations, degrees and contexts of digital disengagement, the initial pilot revealed a plethora of contradictory practices of digital disengagement, the most paradoxical being where the communication, organisation and dissemination of ideas around digital disengagement relied on those very tools the disengagers are aiming to limit (e.g. blogging about the need to spend time away from the computer, or posting selfies of 'unplugging' on social media). This paradox was particularly evident in two main areas dedicated to digital disengagement, which due to time and funding constraints were unable at the time to pursue in further depth: a) collective organising; b) commercialised services. This follow up study thus explores these two areas in order to complement our initial findings on digital disengagement as a media discourse and as a lived experience.
Our study consists of two key components corresponding to our main areas of interest. In Part 1 we document, map and review the different organisations dedicated to collective forms of digital disengagement. In particular, we focus on two initiatives, 'National Day of Unplugging' (US) and 'National Unplugging Day' (UK), conducting initial textual and visual analyses of these projects websites. Part 2 documents, maps and reviews the different businesses, experts and services offering commercialised and corporate forms of digital disengagement. Here, we focus on a particular London-based digital life-coaching service 'Consciously Digital' through qualitative analysis of the company website alongside an interview with its founder and activing manager, Anastasia Dedyukhina.
Overall, the study suggests that at the heart of events and services that support digital disengagement lies a paradox, where those very digital tools, devices and platforms one is encouraged to disengage from, are central to the process of disengagement itself.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLeeds
Commissioning bodyCommunities & Culture Network+
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • digital dis-engagement

Cite this