Design, Users and Social Studies of Technology
In this talk I will discuss some of the ways in which social studies of technology have intersected with research agendas relating to the imagining, design, implementation and use of information technologies.
Social studies have been brought into relation with information systems research in a variety of forms. They include human-computer interaction, participatory design, computer-supported co-operative work, sociotechnical studies and design anthropology -- among others.
The paper takes the form of a short intellectual genealogy that considers why -- that is, for what purposes -- technology design practices and different social science approaches have increasingly found each other and what they get out of each other's company. It then discusses in more detail aspects of how -- that is, by means of which methods, social scientists have aimed to contribute to understandings of technology design and practice. These methods and purposes relate to different concerns and agendas that again have to do with the disciplinary and historical contexts in which they were developed.
At the end of the paper I briefly address some forms that such interdisciplinary research collaboration has taken and provide illustration of educational platforms created to equip students with the necessary skills to engage in such work.