Towards a Sociological Understanding of Robots as Compagnions

Elizabeth C.J. van Oost, Darren Reed

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


While Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) have, in the past, primarily mediated or facilitated emotional bonding between humans, contemporary robot technologies are increasingly making the bond between human and robots the core issue. Thinking of robots as companions is not only a development that opens up huge potential for new applications, it also raises social and ethical issues. In this paper we will argue that current conceptions of human-robot companionship are primarily rooted in cognitive psychological traditions and provide important, yet limited understanding of the companion relationship. Elaborating on a sociological perspective on the appropriation of new technology, we will argue for a richer understanding of companionship that takes the situatedness (in location, network and time) of the use-context into account.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman Robot Personal Relationships: Third International Conference, HRPR 2010, Leiden, The Netherlands, June 23-24, 2010, Revised Selected Papers
EditorsMaarten H. Lamers, Fons J. Verbeek
Place of PublicationHeidelberg, Dordrecht, London
ISBN (Print)978-3-642-19384-2
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2011
Event3rd International Conference on Human Robot Personal Relationships, HRPR 2010 - Leiden, Netherlands
Duration: 23 Jun 201024 Jun 2010
Conference number: 3

Publication series

NameLecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering
Numbervol. 59
ISSN (Print)1867-8211
ISSN (Electronic)1867-8211


Conference3rd International Conference on Human Robot Personal Relationships, HRPR 2010
Abbreviated titleHRPR


  • METIS-288342
  • Social robots – companionship – sociology
  • IR-79329

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