Mobile Media Photography and Intergenerational Families

Jolynna Sinanan, Larissa Hjorth, Kana Ohashi, Fumitoshi Kato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The visuality of apps such as Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp is becoming more apparent, especially as part of emotional work in contemporary relationships. In families, informal intergenerational literacy can be found throughout mobile media practices. Often, the emotional work around these practices remains tacit. In this article, we interrogate the ways in which mobile media photography has become imbricated in making-do practices of maintaining intimacy in intergenerational family contexts. Drawing from literature on mobile media visuality and transnational family relationships, this article considers Arlie Hochschild’s emotional labor and “feeling rules” to consider how intergenerational familial genres in Australia and Japan are used to perform contemporary notions of familial intimacy and copresence. The article thus contributes a cross-cultural consideration of Hochschild’s emotion work to examine how the circulation of images reveals the ideals of familyhood and aspirations of contemporary Asian families in a multicultural and monocultural context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4106-4122
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Communication
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • mobile media
  • visuality
  • camera phones
  • families
  • intimacy
  • communication technology
  • digital media studies


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