New forms of information and communication technology are linking the household to an increasingly complex public realm of formal and informal, spatial and non-spatial relationships. Increasingly households in both 'advanced' and 'developing' regions are simultaneously sites of production and consumption, exhibiting characteristics of both pre- and post-industrial societies. A simplistic public/private split is being superseded by a complex 'layering' through class and gender relations. It is not just the unskilled or elite sectors of the labour market who are obliged to trade their labour across regional and national boundaries (whether through physical migration or through communication networks). Middle-range players are finding themselves competing in a globalised arena of outsourcing, downsizing and home-based self employment contracting. Melvin Webber's view of 'community without propinquity' is used to examine some of the social, political and economic implications of this situation in an Australian context.
Urban Research Program, Research School of Social Sciences, ANU 1996