Publication details [#58370]

Sunakawa, Chiho. 2014. Virtual ie: A three-generational household mediated by webcam interactions. Journal of Pragmatics 69 : 63–81.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher


This study discusses how webcam use enables scattered Japanese families to build a culturally specific “virtual ie (‘stem-family system’)”, traditionally developed in the multigenerational household. Drawing on Emancipatory Pragmatics, it is claimed that participants in the virtual ie strategically use a webcam's “communicative affordances” (Hutchby, 2001) for rendering the level of “in-groupness” or uchi. Ie members persistently steer and parley their in-groupness boundaries via interactions as they position themselves with respect to other family members. The restricted visual access of a webcam offers a possibility to parley the extent of such “in-groupness.”