Presentation on theme: "This part of 204 Information Technology Society/the social"— Presentation transcript:
1This part of 204 Information Technology Society/the social Camera phones as a recurring exampleAlso other forms of technology-mediated information activity: web, …Society/the socialSociotechnical – systems have social and technical componentsHeterogeneous assemblagesHeterogeneous engineering – not just technical but economic, political, social…
2Topics we covered Critical approaches to information/technology Incl critical technical practice; Bias; Politics (Winner)Theories of technology: SCOTSocial construction of knowledge: RepresentationClassificationImages…Configuring usersSocial theory, communicative behavior, and CMCGoffman and perception managementA brief intro to social science research methodsQuantitativeQualitativeEthics for information professionals (Thurs)
3Critical 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.”
5Social theory NOT a source of propositions about human behavior People as thinking, feeling beings seeking to:Make sense of their world -- meaningMake their actions accountable to one anotherCulture:Historically specificPractice: how people DO thingsMeaning: locally constructedDifferences: x groups and timeWhere we (re)construct understandings, interpretations, values, assumptions, social order…SituatedPower
6Social science approaches as sources of: DescriptionsSituated, specific, localAttempts to understand from the perspective of participantsNo “view from nowhere”Generative conceptsSome of which are metaphors, analogiesExs:Impression management, Front stage/backstage (Goffman)
7Winner: artifacts have politics Arguing against:Technological determinism: tech >> societySocial determinism: society >> technology2 ways artifacts can have political properties:Design is a way of settling an issue in a particular communityTechs that appear to require, or be strongly compatible with, particular kinds of political relationships
8Winner: 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.”
9Friedman & Nissenbaum’s Framework Bias: systematically and unfairly discriminates against specific individuals or groupsHowever, doesn’t have to be ‘unfair’ to be of interestTypes:Pre-existing: rooted in soc institutions, practices, attitudes; prior to creation of systemsociety at large, individual, societalTechnical: rooted in tech design; e.g. limits in hard/software, algorithms...Emergent: arises in context of use; result ofchanging societal knowledgemismatch users and designersdiff expertise (e.g. literacy)diff values (e.g. games/competitive)
12Assumptions – “naïve” vs. SCOT et al. An artifact is an unambiguous thing determined by its designTechnological determinism: technology develops according to some inherent logic or progress; the problem is to:Anticipate effectsFigure out how to mitigate most undesirable effectsTechnological success is explained by the properties of the technology – an artifact is successful because it ‘works’An artifact is defined in useTechnological development is open and flexible – the problem is to decide…“Working” is that what needs to be explained, NOT what explains successDesign is technological, economic, politics, social – “heterogeneous engineering”Tech change takes place in history; prior decisions constrain later ones.
13Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) PurposeExplain development of tech artifacts as alternating processes of variation and selectionUnpack the uncertainties, branchings, and decision points in tech designDemonstrate that techs are socially constructed in design as well as useMethodIdentify & describe relevant social groupsSociologically deconstruct the artifactMap mechanisms for stabilization of the artifactHow explain the development, adoption of technology, of specific design choices?
14Key concepts of SCOT model Relevant social groupsFocus on problems and solutionsInterpretive flexibilityStabilizationViable working artifact[enrollment and translation]
15Relevant social groups Relevant social groups share an interpretation, view of the technologyBegin with groups that are relevant for the actorsHow?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 groupsBikesproducers“young men of verve and xxx” – because they share interest in racingwomen:clothing limitswhat’s considered appropriatebehavior limitsuse bikes for going FROM not TOSegwaystudentsfacultyuniv admincityparents of younger kidshave to buy for them; want for kids who can’t driveanother cut:aimed at pedestrians not cylcists
16Focus on problems and solutions: relevant social groups and problems
17Focus on problems and solutions: Problems and solution
19Focus on problems and solutions: Problems, solutions, artifacts SocialgroupSocialgroupproblemProblemsolutionsolutionartifact
20Interpretive flexibility Meanings of artifacts vary x relevant social groupsMeanings vary x uses, circumstancesMeanings vary x time
21Closure and stabilization A stable enough design, agreed to by enough relevant social groups, to be produced/usedSCOT, at least originally, envisioned static end-resultClosure and stabilization are better seen as temporaryAnd allowing for variation: lots of different kinds of bicycles, but a bicycle is not a tricycle
22Translation and enrollment Translation: how my solution is also YOUR solutionEnrollment: convincing you to work with me in our common interestsE.g., bicycle manufacturers enrolled tire manufacturersBicycle manufacturers convinced “young men of verve andSegway manufacturers, university officials, and city officials
241. Identify & describe relevant social groups Relevant social group is one in which all members share same set of meanings for artifactA person can belong to more than oneYou may need to subdivide or redefine initial groupsIf relevant, include their strength in decision-making
252. Sociologically deconstruct the artifact What artifacts are “hidden within”?interpretive flexibility – different artifacts have different meanings for different groupsWhat counts as a viable working artifact for each group?
263 . Map mechanisms for stabilization of the artifact Stabilization: the design and understanding of the artifact are generally agreed toThe problem may be solvedRelevant social groups may see problems as solved (rhetorical closure)Problem may be redefined
27Limits, criticisms of SCOT Has been mostly concerned with design stageBut doesn’t have to beRelevant social groupsWho decides?Importance of groups left out, decisions never consideredIgnores structural, cultural features that affect choicesSense of “closure” too rigidOn-going design in useContinual design iterationsHowever, persistence and durability
28Benefits of SCOT well known in STS world – useful to know about it Provides a framework and methodologyNot perfect, but usefulHelps to spur thinking, suggest considerations otherwise overlooked
32Representation Representations Representation and our field Texts, graphics, metadata, “immutable, combinable mobiles”Representation and our fieldWorking with representations (texts, images…)Creating systems of representation (e.g., metadata)Using representationsThe work of representation – creating systems of representation (e.g., metadata) and representationsThe work that representations do
33RepresentationThe work of representation – creating representations and systems of representation (e.g., metadata)PracticeInvisibilityPractical politicsGoodwin:coding schemeshighlightingarticulation of graphic representations to organize perceptionRodney King:Coding aggressionSpeaking as a professional
34Representation The work that representations do “immutable, combinable mobiles” “circulating references”PersistenceRevealing and concealingOrganizing seeing (and understanding)
36Configuring Users One view: Representing Users They are out there, our job is to describe themAnother view: Configuring users
37Configuring Users I: describing Coming to agreement about a common conception of “the user,” “our users,” for whom we are designing – “describing”Who they areWhat they wantWhat they are capable of doingHow they categorize – activity, knowledge…Why they resist technologyWho is the “user” for a given purpose – e.g., buyer/decision-maker vs. operator/user
38Configuring Users II: inscribing Inscribing in the design who the user is, what the user needs to know, is required/allowed to toDivision of labor, responsibility between the user and “the system”What’s “normal” and what’s an exception
40Goffman A major theorist re interaction An EXAMPLE of how social theory can be used to understand computer-mediated communicationHuman behavior is continuous across mediaGoffman as a resource for understanding mobile phoneBreaks connection between region and behaviorFront/back; Co-present/not ; home/work; Away/hereParallel front stages: being 2 places at onceDecorum, politenessIncreased accessibility – merges regions of activityHow we maintain “regions of activity”Turning away, moving awayCaller ID‘willed ignorance’, ‘civil non-attention’gaze
41Goffman – 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 OFFWe control only the formerPeople look to the latter for what’s ‘real’, consistencycont’l actions to avoid disruption - defensive, protective/tactthere is intense interest in disruptions
42Goffman - 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 itsetting - the scenic parts of expressive equipmentpersonal front - items that follow performer wherever she goes, e.g., insignia of rank; clothing; sex, age, racial characteristicsappearance - re social status, ritual state (formal social activity, work...)manner - re their interactional role - e.g. aggressive > expects to take lead
43Teamsgroup of individuals who coop in staging a single routine - similar performances or different performances that fit into a wholerelationships w/i teamsbonds of reciprocal dependence - any one can disrupt the performancebonds of reciprocal familiarity - define one another as ‘persons in the know’ - people before whom a particular front cannot be maintained
44analysis 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 linenew factor of loyalty to teammates to support linepublic disagreements incapacitates them for united action and embarrasses the reality they sponsor > postpone taking public stands until position of team has been settledto withhold from a member the stand the team has taken is to withhold his character from himteammates selected who can be trusted to perform properly
45other participants (‘audience’) themselves constitute a ‘team’ dramatic INTERaction: a kind of dialog and interplay between >= 2 teamsalways the cooperative effort of all participants to maintain a working consensusthe audience too is presenting a team performanceno 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
46Regions and Behavior Region: place bounded by barriers to perception front region’ - where perf takes place2 groupings of standards:politeness: how treats audiencedecorum: how one comports oneself in visual/aural range of others (not in conversation with others)back region or backstage: secrets are visibleperformers behave out of character; informalkeeping 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.
47Behavior 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’lyrelated: a person should be what she claims to bethe 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
48Mobile Phones via Goffman Breaks connection between region and behaviorFront/back; Co-present/not ; home/work; Away/hereParallel front stages: being 2 places at onceDecorum, politenessIncreased accessibility – merges regions of activityHow we maintain “regions of activity”Turning away, moving awayCaller ID‘willed ignorance’, ‘civil non-attention’gaze
50Empirical Research: the sources of evidence about human activity Quantitative MethodsQualitative Methods
51Questions 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?
52Methods 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 surveysqualitativeInterviewsDiary studiesethnographic studies‘rapid ethnography’
53Surveys: some key considerations Defining of the population to be studiedDrawing a representative sampleFormulating questionsAnalyzing dataMargin of errorOther possible sources of errorInterpreting data and reaching conclusionsWhat can the data justify?
54Ethnography Used in anthropology, sociology Presuppositions Also in IS214, UsabilityIS272 – Qualitative Methods – addresses in more detailPresuppositionsCommitment to studying activities in natural settingsconcern with understanding relation of particular activities to the constellation of activities and resources that characterize a settingDetailed descriptions of lived experiencehow people actually behave, not (just) their accountsParticipants’ point of viewUse their categories, languagewithhold judgment, recommendations, design
55Ethnographic Data Collection Methods ObservationVideo, photographyInterviewsDocument analysesParticipation (do it yourself)
56Ethnographic Tools Field notes Photos, video/audiotapes, & transcripts Make detailed notes on what is observedNeed to be done as soon as possible during/after observationSeparate interpretation from observationPhotos, video/audiotapes, & transcriptsReusable record of exactly how people act, what they sayRepeated observation reveals unseen detailsPrecise wording used by participants may be revealing (e.g., Taylor & Harper)
57Ethnography in HCI studies of work studies of technology in use where new technology might be intro’d but w/o explicit design agendastudies of technology in usesituated use of specific technologies, classes of technologyparticipatory/work-oriented designpeople who use/are affected involved in design – based on their understandings of their work
58Ethnography and Usability Gathering customer requirements: Understand their work, context, interactions – on sitePrototype evaluation: e.g., PARC work-oriented design project, put a working prototype in the workplaceField evaluation: study use and integration of product/service on site
59Difficulties with Ethnography Harder to do well than it appearsHigh resources demandsHuman resources – time and expertiseCalendar timeLots of information to analyzeDifficult to translate observations and understandings for othersHow to link to design?How to use to develop designs for more general use, other than this setting?
60Rapid EthnographyTeam of researchers – divide up, share observations, interact with one anotherTriangulation: multiple data collection methodsIterative data collection and analysisNarrow focus of field researchImportant activitiesKey informantslooking for exceptional and useful user behavior
61How rapid ethnography (Millen) diverges from traditional ethnography “Objectivity”SpeedNarrow focus -- determined BEFORE entering the field“Exceptional” occurrences
62Downsides of Rapid Ethnography Too focused?Too narrow a viewFind what you expect to findToo few informants to get a broad view, find the people you really need?Not enough understanding of the situation to knowWhat’s importantWhen to collect dataWhom to talk withHow participants understand situationNot enough timefor exceptions to surface or patterns to appearto build trustto shift own thinking to understand nuances of situationto understand informants’ relationships to situation