Shaping technology and use

Course description

The central question of the course is: how is that people through interactions with technological artefacts not only mould their daily life but also (re)shape the technology itself. Users have transcended their status of ┬┐passive consumers┬┐. Current phenomena like Web 2.0, Open Source, Wikepedia, etc. are all examples of active, producing users. This active agency in shaping technology in daily activities blurs traditional boundaries between design and use.

In the course students will get acquintant with three interrelated scientific fields that all contribute to understanding the shifting design-use relations. These are:

  • An elaboration of the STS Actor Network Theory. Sociology of translation is introduced in order to analyse the phenomenon that technology not only contributes to the solution of people's problems but simultaneously transforms these problems into new ones for which new technical solutions are being sought The script analysis allows for granting the agency of the artefacts themselves
  • In the Domestication theory (Media and Cultural Studies) the focus of analysis shifts to the active role of the users in the appropriation of technological artefacts.
  • The Dynamics of User innovation and Innovation communities in Innovation Studies.

Contact: mw. dr.ir.E.C.J. van Oost