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Technology Encounters: Exploring the essence of ordinary computing
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics and Media, Human-Computer Interaction.
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

As computing technology has become a vital part of everyday life, studies have increasingly scrutinized the underlying meaning of computational things. As different devices become interwoven with daily practices and routines, there is a growing interest in understanding not only their functional meaning in computational terms but also their meaning in relation to other non-computation artefacts.

This thesis investigates how people relate to artefacts and how their individual values and attitudes affect this relationship.  The analysis is based on four ethnographic studies, which look at the richness of ordinary interactions with technology to understand the impact of technology upon practice and experience.

The process through which humans develop a relationship to artefacts is framed as a continuous series of encounters, through which the individual constantly reshapes their relationship to things.  Artefacts are seen as lines in the mesh of everyday life, and the encounters are the intersections between lines. This approach–grounded in phenomenology and paired with an anthropological understanding of everyday life–reconceptualises understanding of the processes of adaption, meaning-making, disposing and recycling. The work reveals how human relations to all kinds of things–in the form of meaning–is continually transforming. Core to this understanding is the cultural relative essence that becomes perceived of the artefacts themselves. This essence deeply affects the way we encounter and thus interact with technology, as well as objects more broadly. In the daily interaction with computing devices we can observe that computing technology alters the mesh on a different level than non-computational artefacts: digital interfaces pull our lines together, bundle experiences an affect how we encounter the material and the social world. This enables computing devices to have meanings distinct from non-computing technology. To go further, computing is itself a mode of existence – a crucial difference in things that helps us understand the complexity of the material world.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Department of Informatics and Media , 2016. , 93 p.
Series
Uppsala Studies in Human-Computer Interaction, 4
Keyword [en]
Everyday life, ICT, phenomenology, ethnography, cultural analysis
National Category
Human Aspects of ICT
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-301158ISBN: 978-91-506-2589-9OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-301158DiVA: diva2:953759
Public defence
2016-10-04, Hörsal 3, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10, Uppsala, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-09-13 Created: 2016-08-18 Last updated: 2016-09-13
List of papers
1. The Value of Things: Cultural Context in the Design of Digital Materiality
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Value of Things: Cultural Context in the Design of Digital Materiality
2012 (English)In: Proceedings of the 7th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Making Sense Through Design, New York: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2012, 751-756 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

With the diffusion of computing in all areas of everyday life comes a need for re-thinking the design process in order to account for the changing meaning of digital technologies. This paper argues that there is a need to factor the cultural value that digital artifacts get assigned by users into the design process. Therefore a theoretical framework is developed that builds on phenomenology and Bourdieu's concept of habitus. Main objective is thereby to connect the individual experience with a cultural context and connect micro- and macro-perspective. This framework then builds the foundation for a model that accounts for the heterogeneity of values that artifacts get assigned.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2012
Keyword
Design research, phenomenology, ubiquitous computing, experiential computing, materiality
National Category
Human Aspects of ICT
Research subject
Human-Computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-191831 (URN)10.1145/2399016.2399132 (DOI)978-1-4503-1482-4 (ISBN)
Conference
NordiCHI 2012, 14th-17th October, 2012, Copenhagen, DENMARK
Available from: 2013-01-16 Created: 2013-01-14 Last updated: 2016-08-26Bibliographically approved
2. Exploring meaning and values in artefacts: A case example of the family car
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring meaning and values in artefacts: A case example of the family car
(English)Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

In this paper we describe interactions between families and their artefacts in the car using data from ethnographic work with eight families. We see how artefacts - through the interactions and practices around them and affected by family values - develop meaning over time. Outgoing from that artefacts are embedded in the socially dense environment of the car, we scrutinize the relationship between users and artefacts and the environment they are interacting in. Drawing on concepts from the field of material culture we show that the relationship between user and artefact is constituted through individual values and dispositions as they are reflected in everyday interactions with materiality. We observe that artefact interactions are closely tied with changing family dynamics, issues around technology appropriation and prevailing values and parenting practices. Our analysis points to the deliberation of the role of critical, value-based design for the design for families. 

Keyword
Car, family, meaning, materiality
National Category
Human Aspects of ICT
Research subject
Human-Computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-301106 (URN)
Note

Manuscript submitted for publication

Available from: 2016-08-18 Created: 2016-08-18 Last updated: 2016-08-26
3. Connectedness in Mobile Families: Digital and Material Flows of Practices in the Home
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Connectedness in Mobile Families: Digital and Material Flows of Practices in the Home
Show others...
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In modern day economy, families often have to be geographically flexible and within families computational technology plays a crucial role in making a home, even when far away from their place of origin. We report on an ethnographic study investigating the role of ICT for connectedness in a family context. In order to understand how families are dealing with relocation in their everyday life, we analyze situated material practices and discuss how expat families create a sense of connectedness through the procurement and maintenance of physical as well as digital artifacts. We show in particular how the roles of virtually procured artifacts, such as movies or music content, is tightly connected to but also different from the tangible ‘stuff’ that is a crucial part of home-making. This leads to a different role of ICT in the material fabric of the modern family home and at the same time to new challenges and challenges and potentials whendesigning for connectedness.

National Category
Human Aspects of ICT
Research subject
Human-Computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-301107 (URN)
Available from: 2016-08-18 Created: 2016-08-18 Last updated: 2016-08-26
4. Designing for Labour: Uber and the On-Demand Mobile Workforce
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Designing for Labour: Uber and the On-Demand Mobile Workforce
2016 (English)In: 34Th Annual Chi Conference On Human Factors In Computing Systems, Chi 2016, 2016, 1632-1643 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Apps allowing passengers to hail and pay for taxi service on their phone– such as Uber and Lyft–have affected the livelihood of thousands of workers worldwide. In this paper we draw on interviews with traditional taxi drivers, rideshare drivers and passengers in London and San Francisco to understand how “ride-sharing” transforms the taxi business. With Uber, the app not only manages the allocation of work, but is directly involved in ‘labour issues’: changing the labour conditions of the work itself. We document how Uber driving demands new skills such as emotional labour, while increasing worker flexibility. We discuss how the design of new technology is also about creating new labour opportunities – jobs – and how we might think about our responsibilities in designing these labour relations. 

Keyword
On demand labour, sharing economy, uber, ridesharing, on-demand labour, transport, labour issues
National Category
Interaction Technologies Human Aspects of ICT
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-276270 (URN)10.1145/2858036.2858476 (DOI)000380532901062 ()978-1-4503-3362-7 (ISBN)
Conference
34th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI4GOOD), MAY 07-12, 2016, San Jose, CA, USA
Available from: 2016-02-10 Created: 2016-02-10 Last updated: 2016-09-19Bibliographically approved
5. Stuck in-between: Embracing the ‘messiness’ of Internet of Things at home
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Stuck in-between: Embracing the ‘messiness’ of Internet of Things at home
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Human Aspects of ICT
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-301108 (URN)
Available from: 2016-08-18 Created: 2016-08-18 Last updated: 2016-08-26
6. The tablet computer as a family canvas
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The tablet computer as a family canvas
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Human Aspects of ICT
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-301109 (URN)
Available from: 2016-08-18 Created: 2016-08-18 Last updated: 2016-08-26

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