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This part of 204 Information Technology Society/the social

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1 This part of 204 Information Technology Society/the social
Camera phones as a recurring example Also other forms of technology-mediated information activity: web, … Society/the social Sociotechnical – systems have social and technical components Heterogeneous assemblages Heterogeneous engineering – not just technical but economic, political, social…

2 Topics we covered Critical approaches to information/technology
Incl critical technical practice; Bias; Politics (Winner) Theories of technology: SCOT Social construction of knowledge: Representation Classification Images… Configuring users Social theory, communicative behavior, and CMC Goffman and perception management A brief intro to social science research methods Quantitative Qualitative Ethics for information professionals (Thurs)

3 Critical Technical Practice (Agre)
“A technical practice for which critical reflection upon the practice is part of the practice itself.” “Awareness of its own workings as a historically specific practice.” “Draws attention to structural and cultural levels of explanation – things that happen through our actions but [may] exist beneath our conscious awareness” Highlights and problematizes the taken-for-granted; inherited ideas, orientations, assumptions, values, methods, understandings that are reproduced through discourses and practices of any practice community “The main unit of analysis in my account of technical practices are discourses and practices, not the qualities of individual engineers and scientists.”

4 Critical Approaches to Technology

5 Social theory NOT a source of propositions about human behavior
People as thinking, feeling beings seeking to: Make sense of their world -- meaning Make their actions accountable to one another Culture: Historically specific Practice: how people DO things Meaning: locally constructed Differences: x groups and time Where we (re)construct understandings, interpretations, values, assumptions, social order… Situated Power

6 Social science approaches as sources of:
Descriptions Situated, specific, local Attempts to understand from the perspective of participants No “view from nowhere” Generative concepts Some of which are metaphors, analogies Exs: Impression management, Front stage/backstage (Goffman)

7 Winner: artifacts have politics
Arguing against: Technological determinism: tech >> society Social determinism: society >> technology 2 ways artifacts can have political properties: Design is a way of settling an issue in a particular community Techs that appear to require, or be strongly compatible with, particular kinds of political relationships

8 Winner: technology and order
“The things we call "technologies" are ways of building order in our world… contain[ing] possibilities for many different ways of ordering human activity. “Consciously or unconsciously… societies choose structures for technologies that influence how people are going to work, communicate, travel, consume [etc] over a very long time. “[When] decisions are made, different people are situated differently and possess unequal degrees of power …[and] awareness. “…[T] the greatest latitude of choice exists the very first time a particular instrument, system, or technique is introduced. Because choices tend to become strongly fixed in material equipment, economic investment, and social habit, the original flexibility vanishes …. “[T]he same …attention one would give to the rules, roles, and relationships of politics must also be given to such things as the building of highways, the creation of television networks, and the tailoring of seemingly insignificant features on new machines. “The issues that divide or unite people in society are settled not only in the institutions and practices of politics proper, but also, and less obviously, in tangible arrangements of steel and concrete, wires and semiconductors, nuts and bolts.”

9 Friedman & Nissenbaum’s Framework
Bias: systematically and unfairly discriminates against specific individuals or groups However, doesn’t have to be ‘unfair’ to be of interest Types: Pre-existing: rooted in soc institutions, practices, attitudes; prior to creation of system society at large, individual, societal Technical: rooted in tech design; e.g. limits in hard/software, algorithms... Emergent: arises in context of use; result of changing societal knowledge mismatch users and designers diff expertise (e.g. literacy) diff values (e.g. games/competitive)

10 Critical approaches and SIMS?

11 Theories of Technology
Mostly SCOT

12 Assumptions – “naïve” vs. SCOT et al.
An artifact is an unambiguous thing determined by its design Technological determinism: technology develops according to some inherent logic or progress; the problem is to: Anticipate effects Figure out how to mitigate most undesirable effects Technological success is explained by the properties of the technology – an artifact is successful because it ‘works’ An artifact is defined in use Technological development is open and flexible – the problem is to decide… “Working” is that what needs to be explained, NOT what explains success Design is technological, economic, politics, social – “heterogeneous engineering” Tech change takes place in history; prior decisions constrain later ones.

13 Social Construction of Technology (SCOT)
Purpose Explain development of tech artifacts as alternating processes of variation and selection Unpack the uncertainties, branchings, and decision points in tech design Demonstrate that techs are socially constructed in design as well as use Method Identify & describe relevant social groups Sociologically deconstruct the artifact Map mechanisms for stabilization of the artifact How explain the development, adoption of technology, of specific design choices?

14 Key concepts of SCOT model
Relevant social groups Focus on problems and solutions Interpretive flexibility Stabilization Viable working artifact [enrollment and translation]

15 Relevant social groups
Relevant social groups share an interpretation, view of the technology Begin with groups that are relevant for the actors How? Snowballing: not just interviewing (as described) but in following processes (who does what) “Follow the actors” – e.g., who are the producers trying to sell to? Groups relevant for analysts (may or may not be the same) Relevant social groups Bikes producers “young men of verve and xxx” – because they share interest in racing women: clothing limits what’s considered appropriate behavior limits use bikes for going FROM not TO Segway students faculty univ admin city parents of younger kids have to buy for them; want for kids who can’t drive another cut: aimed at pedestrians not cylcists

16 Focus on problems and solutions: relevant social groups and problems

17 Focus on problems and solutions: Problems and solution

18 Artifacts & relevant social groups

19 Focus on problems and solutions: Problems, solutions, artifacts
Social group Social group problem Problem solution solution artifact

20 Interpretive flexibility
Meanings of artifacts vary x relevant social groups Meanings vary x uses, circumstances Meanings vary x time

21 Closure and stabilization
A stable enough design, agreed to by enough relevant social groups, to be produced/used SCOT, at least originally, envisioned static end-result Closure and stabilization are better seen as temporary And allowing for variation: lots of different kinds of bicycles, but a bicycle is not a tricycle

22 Translation and enrollment
Translation: how my solution is also YOUR solution Enrollment: convincing you to work with me in our common interests E.g., bicycle manufacturers enrolled tire manufacturers Bicycle manufacturers convinced “young men of verve and Segway manufacturers, university officials, and city officials

23 SCOT Method

24 1. Identify & describe relevant social groups
Relevant social group is one in which all members share same set of meanings for artifact A person can belong to more than one You may need to subdivide or redefine initial groups If relevant, include their strength in decision-making

25 2. Sociologically deconstruct the artifact
What artifacts are “hidden within”? interpretive flexibility – different artifacts have different meanings for different groups What counts as a viable working artifact for each group?

26 3 . Map mechanisms for stabilization of the artifact
Stabilization: the design and understanding of the artifact are generally agreed to The problem may be solved Relevant social groups may see problems as solved (rhetorical closure) Problem may be redefined

27 Limits, criticisms of SCOT
Has been mostly concerned with design stage But doesn’t have to be Relevant social groups Who decides? Importance of groups left out, decisions never considered Ignores structural, cultural features that affect choices Sense of “closure” too rigid On-going design in use Continual design iterations However, persistence and durability

28 Benefits of SCOT well known in STS world – useful to know about it
Provides a framework and methodology Not perfect, but useful Helps to spur thinking, suggest considerations otherwise overlooked

29 SCOT and SIMS?

30 Representation and social construction of knowledge

31 Social construction of knowledge

32 Representation Representations Representation and our field
Texts, graphics, metadata, “immutable, combinable mobiles” Representation and our field Working with representations (texts, images…) Creating systems of representation (e.g., metadata) Using representations The work of representation – creating systems of representation (e.g., metadata) and representations The work that representations do

33 Representation The work of representation – creating representations and systems of representation (e.g., metadata) Practice Invisibility Practical politics Goodwin: coding schemes highlighting articulation of graphic representations to organize perception Rodney King: Coding aggression Speaking as a professional

34 Representation The work that representations do
“immutable, combinable mobiles” “circulating references” Persistence Revealing and concealing Organizing seeing (and understanding)

35 Representation and SIMS?

36 Configuring Users One view: Representing Users
They are out there, our job is to describe them Another view: Configuring users

37 Configuring Users I: describing
Coming to agreement about a common conception of “the user,” “our users,” for whom we are designing – “describing” Who they are What they want What they are capable of doing How they categorize – activity, knowledge… Why they resist technology Who is the “user” for a given purpose – e.g., buyer/decision-maker vs. operator/user

38 Configuring Users II: inscribing
Inscribing in the design who the user is, what the user needs to know, is required/allowed to to Division of labor, responsibility between the user and “the system” What’s “normal” and what’s an exception

39 Configuring users and SIMS?

40 Goffman A major theorist re interaction
An EXAMPLE of how social theory can be used to understand computer-mediated communication Human behavior is continuous across media Goffman as a resource for understanding mobile phone Breaks connection between region and behavior Front/back; Co-present/not ; home/work; Away/here Parallel front stages: being 2 places at once Decorum, politeness Increased accessibility – merges regions of activity How we maintain “regions of activity” Turning away, moving away Caller ID ‘willed ignorance’, ‘civil non-attention’ gaze

41 Goffman – some key points
“this report is about common techniques employed to sustain impressions, and common contingencies assoc’d with these techniques the dramaturgical problems of presenting the activity before others (p. 15) Expressions are GIVEN or GIVEN OFF We control only the former People look to the latter for what’s ‘real’, consistency cont’l actions to avoid disruption - defensive, protective/tact there is intense interest in disruptions

42 Goffman - dramaturgical problems of presenting activity before others
‘performance:’ activity during period marked by presence before a set of observers which has some influence on observers ‘front:’ part of the perf which functions to define the situation for those who observe it setting - the scenic parts of expressive equipment personal front - items that follow performer wherever she goes, e.g., insignia of rank; clothing; sex, age, racial characteristics appearance - re social status, ritual state (formal social activity, work...) manner - re their interactional role - e.g. aggressive > expects to take lead

43 Teams group of individuals who coop in staging a single routine - similar performances or different performances that fit into a whole relationships w/i teams bonds of reciprocal dependence - any one can disrupt the performance bonds of reciprocal familiarity - define one another as ‘persons in the know’ - people before whom a particular front cannot be maintained

44 analysis using team as basic unit
team has to have some agreement on what’s the defn of the sitn being espoused - may be only a thin party line new factor of loyalty to teammates to support line public disagreements incapacitates them for united action and embarrasses the reality they sponsor > postpone taking public stands until position of team has been settled to withhold from a member the stand the team has taken is to withhold his character from him teammates selected who can be trusted to perform properly

45 other participants (‘audience’) themselves constitute a ‘team’
dramatic INTERaction: a kind of dialog and interplay between >= 2 teams always the cooperative effort of all participants to maintain a working consensus the audience too is presenting a team performance no one can be member of both team and audience - or moving back and forth - his example is someone who would be privy to secrets being kept from the audience

46 Regions and Behavior Region: place bounded by barriers to perception
front region’ - where perf takes place 2 groupings of standards: politeness: how treats audience decorum: how one comports oneself in visual/aural range of others (not in conversation with others) back region or backstage: secrets are visible performers behave out of character; informal keeping back region hidden is common technique of impression management •not likely to have pure examples of in/formal behavior - activity in concrete sitns is always a mix.

47 Behavior has a moral character
any projected definition of a situation has a distinctly moral character (p. 13): any individual who possesses certain characteristics has moral right to expect that others will value and treat her approp’ly related: a person should be what she claims to be the obligation to appear in a ‘steady moral light,’ of ‘being a socialized character,’ forces one to be the sort of person who is practiced in the ways of the stage. P. 251

48 Mobile Phones via Goffman
Breaks connection between region and behavior Front/back; Co-present/not ; home/work; Away/here Parallel front stages: being 2 places at once Decorum, politeness Increased accessibility – merges regions of activity How we maintain “regions of activity” Turning away, moving away Caller ID ‘willed ignorance’, ‘civil non-attention’ gaze

49 Goffman and SIMS?

50 Empirical Research: the sources of evidence about human activity
Quantitative Methods Qualitative Methods

51 Questions to ask about a study
What is the purpose of the study? About whom and about what topic? What else is known about this topic? What methods were used to collect data? Are the data reliable? How were the data analyzed? Are the conclusions credible? Are they supported by the data? Are they consistent with what else is known? If not, are they nevertheless credible?

52 Methods Quantitative: Measurements of various sorts qualitative
e.g., available statistical data from service providers.... Behavioral studies (e.g., laboratory-based usability studies that measure time to perform tasks) Questionnaires and surveys qualitative Interviews Diary studies ethnographic studies ‘rapid ethnography’

53 Surveys: some key considerations
Defining of the population to be studied Drawing a representative sample Formulating questions Analyzing data Margin of error Other possible sources of error Interpreting data and reaching conclusions What can the data justify?

54 Ethnography Used in anthropology, sociology Presuppositions
Also in IS214, Usability IS272 – Qualitative Methods – addresses in more detail Presuppositions Commitment to studying activities in natural settings concern with understanding relation of particular activities to the constellation of activities and resources that characterize a setting Detailed descriptions of lived experience how people actually behave, not (just) their accounts Participants’ point of view Use their categories, language withhold judgment, recommendations, design

55 Ethnographic Data Collection Methods
Observation Video, photography Interviews Document analyses Participation (do it yourself)

56 Ethnographic Tools Field notes Photos, video/audiotapes, & transcripts
Make detailed notes on what is observed Need to be done as soon as possible during/after observation Separate interpretation from observation Photos, video/audiotapes, & transcripts Reusable record of exactly how people act, what they say Repeated observation reveals unseen details Precise wording used by participants may be revealing (e.g., Taylor & Harper)

57 Ethnography in HCI studies of work studies of technology in use
where new technology might be intro’d but w/o explicit design agenda studies of technology in use situated use of specific technologies, classes of technology participatory/work-oriented design people who use/are affected involved in design – based on their understandings of their work

58 Ethnography and Usability
Gathering customer requirements: Understand their work, context, interactions – on site Prototype evaluation: e.g., PARC work-oriented design project, put a working prototype in the workplace Field evaluation: study use and integration of product/service on site

59 Difficulties with Ethnography
Harder to do well than it appears High resources demands Human resources – time and expertise Calendar time Lots of information to analyze Difficult to translate observations and understandings for others How to link to design? How to use to develop designs for more general use, other than this setting?

60 Rapid Ethnography Team of researchers – divide up, share observations, interact with one another Triangulation: multiple data collection methods Iterative data collection and analysis Narrow focus of field research Important activities Key informants looking for exceptional and useful user behavior

61 How rapid ethnography (Millen) diverges from traditional ethnography
“Objectivity” Speed Narrow focus -- determined BEFORE entering the field “Exceptional” occurrences

62 Downsides of Rapid Ethnography
Too focused? Too narrow a view Find what you expect to find Too few informants to get a broad view, find the people you really need? Not enough understanding of the situation to know What’s important When to collect data Whom to talk with How participants understand situation Not enough time for exceptions to surface or patterns to appear to build trust to shift own thinking to understand nuances of situation to understand informants’ relationships to situation

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