Polymedia repertoires of networked individuals: A day-in-the-life approach

Tagg, Caroline and Lyons, Agnieszka (2021). Polymedia repertoires of networked individuals: A day-in-the-life approach. Pragmatics and Society, 12(5) pp. 725–755.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/ps.20051.tag


This article introduces the concept of the polymedia repertoire to explore how social meaning is indexed through the interplay of communicative resources at different levels of expression (from choice of media to individual signs) in digitally mediated interactions. The multi-layered polymedia repertoire highlights how people move fluidly between media platforms, semiotic modes and linguistic resources in the course of their everyday interactions, and enables us to locate digital communications within individuals’ wider practices. The potential of our theoretical contribution is illustrated through analysis of mobile phone messaging between participants in a large multi-sited ethnography of the communicative practices of multilingual migrants working in linguistically diverse UK city neighbourhoods. Our analysis of mobile messaging exchanges in a day-in-the-life of these networked individuals reveals the importance of device attention in shaping interpersonal interactions, as well as the complex ways in which choices at different levels of a polymedia repertoire are structured by social relationships, communicative purpose and (dis)identification processes.

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