sábado, 14 de junio de 2008
(Ya pasó, era lejos, pero me hubiera gustado ir, seguro que a mi novio tambén.)
Call for Participation
A growing body of studies show that in the detailed how of ‘how matter comes to matter’ (Barad 2007) the social and the material are inextricably linked. However, the very practices that join also often conceal such entanglement - in everyday practice, politics, science and design. In this interdisciplinary workshop we seek to explore a particular set of connections between 'matterealities', mobilities and innovation:
Matterealities: If social-material realities or orders are made, two questions arise: ‘How are they made?’ and ‘How could they be made ‘better’?’ Science and technology studies and ethnomethodological studies address the first, and sometimes also the second question (e.g. through involvement in design, socio-technical innovation and ‘engaged’ research (Sismondo 2007)). However, while these studies can powerfully draw our attention to the entanglement of the social and the material, they often struggle to escape the dualisms entrenched in our languages and epistemic practices. Non-representational approaches, and Barad’s agential realism in particular, open up new possibilities for a study of ‘intra-action’, not only by focusing on how epistemic practices and 'pre-cognitive' 'matereal' methods of embodied conduct make matter matter, but also by formulating a new 'epistemontology'. The convergence of increasingly powerful and small computing, sensor and actuator technologies with everyday materials, including the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, and the places we live, play and work in – presents a particularly rich challenge for this approach. Whereas research into socio-technical settings and practices has tended to look at human-computer interaction and 'the virtual' (cyberspace and life online), research must now also look towards the intra-actions of digital phenomena and the 'materealization' of socio-technical realities.
Mobilities: A new ‘movement-driven’ social science (Urry 2007) reveals movement, potential movement and blocked movement as constitutive of economic, social, political, environmental and material relations. Movement, momentum, and motion are also integral to epistemic practices and ‘mattering’. Moreover, they rely on and can reveal the important role of media (air, water) and infrastructural support (roads, cables, satellites, networks). Combining a focus on mobilities with studies of intra-action can make important aspects of the entanglement of the social and the material amenable to study.
Innovation: Can studies of how socio-material realities are made inform the making of ‘better’ realities? A first answer must be ‘No’, because by drawing attention to the entanglement of the social and the material, such studies show that it is difficult if not impossible to know what ‘better’ might mean, to go beyond the scale of ‘us, here and now’, let alone decide what steps would enable the matterealization of better futures (without treading loose an avalanche of unintended consequences). Yet, it is tempting to attend to ‘issues of social order and intelligibility that must be understood before social problems can be intelligently addressed’ (Warfield Rawls 2002) and to trust that better understanding will indeed allow us to address social, material and technical problems and opportunities more intelligently. Concrete experience from ethnomethodologically informed technology design reframes the ambition: First, by changing the way in which innovation is conceived of and achieved towards a more collaborative, iterative (pervasive and never-ending), interdisciplinary process (Suchman 1999), and second, by seeking to change the objects of innovation, for example by making technologies that support creative appropriation in the context of everyday innovation (e.g. Robinson 1993, Dourish and Button 1998, Chalmers 2004, Gershenfeld 2005, The PalCom project). Agential realism opens up new possibilities for these approaches and provides an opportunity to widen the focus to other forms of socio-technical change.
In this workshop we bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars and practitioners to explore, formulate and shape these possibilities and opportunities.