My Mum's Throne Room: The technology that defines modernity in a developing world
If you asked a group of mothers what would they miss most from their home if it all disappeared would you really expect them to say the toilet? Well we did that exercise in a few SE Asia cities among the new urban classes and despite their owning TVs and refrigerators, and maybe computers and certainly cellphones the number one answer was the technology that they said defined their home as modern: the western style sit down flushing toilet. This raises the question as to what makes us modern? What really changes our lives? What is it we cannot really be deprived of? Through an exploration of the toilet, its significance and meaning to "modern" lives we open a discussion as to the role of objective ethnographic research as the key to understanding what we had not realized. This also provides a chance to rethink what connection technology means and matters.