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Which clippings match 'Cultural Concept Of Technology' keyword pg.1 of 1
11 JUNE 2016

Digital Sociology: Beyond the Digital to the Sociological

"Where sociologists differ from many other social researchers in researching digital media is their awareness that digital data, like any other type of data, are socially created and have a social life, a vitality, of their own. They are not the neutral products of automatic calculation, but represent deliberate decisions by those who formulate the computer algorithms that collect and manipulate these data (boyd and Crawford 2012; Cheney-Lippold 2011; Ruppert et al. 2013). The data that these devices and software produce structure our concepts of identity, embodiment, relationships, our choices and preferences and even our access to services or spaces. Without the knowledge of digital technology users, algorithms measure and sort them, deciding what choices they may be offered (Beer 2009, 2013a). Algorithms and other elements of software, therefore, are generative, a productive form of power (Lash 2007)."

(Deborah Lupton, 2013, p.4)

Deborah Lupton 'Digital Sociology: Beyond the Digital to the Sociological', Paper presented at The Australian Sociological Association 2013 Conference, Monash University, 27 November 2013.

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TAGS

2013 • algorithms • cultural concept of technologycultural practicescultural technologycultural understanding of technologyculture and societyDanah Boyd • David Beer • Deborah Lupton • digital data • digital media • digital sociology • digital technologyembodiment • Evelyn Ruppert • identity • John Cheney-Lippold • Kate Crawford • material culturemediated interactionMonash Universitynew mediaScott Lashsocial mediasocial policysocial researchsocial theorysociology • sociomateriality • software affordancestechnology practicesUniversity of Sydney

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
18 NOVEMBER 2013

Affordance, Conventions and Design

"Physical constraints are closely related to real affordances: For example, it is not possible to move the cursor outside the screen: this is a physical constraint. Locking the mouse button when clicking is not desired would be a physical constraint. Restricting the cursor to exist only in screen locations where its position is meaningful is a physical constraint.

Logical constraints use reasoning to determine the alternatives. Thus, if we ask the user to click on five locations and only four are immediately visible, the person knows, logically, that there is one location off the screen. Logical constraints are valuable in guiding behavior. It is how the user knows to scroll down and see the rest of the page. It is how users know when they have finished a task. By making the fundamental design model visible, users can readily (logically) deduce what actions are required. Logical constraints go hand–in–hand with a good conceptual model.

Cultural constraints are conventions shared by a cultural group. The fact that the graphic on the right–hand side of a display is a 'scroll bar' and that one should move the cursor to it, hold down a mouse button, and 'drag' it downward in order to see objects located below the current visible set (thus causing the image itself to appear to move upwards) is a cultural, learned convention. The choice of action is arbitrary: there is nothing inherent in the devices or design that requires the system to act in this way. The word 'arbitrary' does not mean that any random depiction would do equally well: the current choice is an intelligent fit to human cognition, but there are alternative methods that work equally well.

A convention is a constraint in that it prohibits some activities and encourages others. Physical constraints make some actions impossible: there is no way to ignore them. Logical and cultural constraints are weaker in the sense that they can be violated or ignored, but they act as valuable aids to navigating the unknowns and complexities of everyday life. As a result, they are powerful tools for the designer. A convention is a cultural constraint, one that has evolved over time. Conventions are not arbitrary: they evolve, they require a community of practice. They are slow to be adopted, and once adopted, slow to go away. So although the word implies voluntary choice, the reality is that they are real constraints upon our behavior. Use them with respect. Violate them only with great risk."

(Donald Norman)

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affordancesconceptual modelconstraintsconventionscultural concept of technology • cultural constraints • cultural conventions • cultural group • design modelDonald Norman • guiding behaviour • human behaviourlearned behaviour • learned convention • logical constraints • perceived affordance • physical constraint • physical constraints • real affordancesreasoningshared practices • voluntary choice
08 NOVEMBER 2013

The struggle for technology: instrumentalism versus culture

"This age–old conflict about social status remains at the heart of present–day struggles over the meanings of technology. On one side, defenders of technicians view technologies as creative expressions of human culture. In this view, technology is imbued with human values and strivings in all their contradictory complexity. I term this position the 'cultural' approach to technology. On the other side are those who see technological action as a narrow form of rationality that seeks only the best means for a given end. For such people, technology is something purely technical, essentially uncreative and devoid of values, subordinate to ends given by others. I call this second position the 'instrumental' conception of technology. ...

the discourse of technology favors the instrumental over the cultural. An entire tradition of philosophical critique is based on a reduction of technology to instrumental rationality. But technological enthusiasts also embrace the instrumental definition of technology. From their perspective, our modern technological civilization represents the embodiment of reason in the world, with new technologies as the vanguard of progress. Technological utopians like Kevin Kelly epitomize this instrumental perspective. In contrast, the cultural understanding of technology recognizes the creativity expressed in everything from steam engines to iPhones. But the cultural approach is definitely in the minority. This view is most common among people like me, historians of technology and other scholars who connect technological choices to specific aspects of culture and society."

(Eric Schatzberg, Rethinking Technology)

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aesthetic creativity • aesthetic sensibility • aristocratic hierarchies • concrete material practices • contradictory complexity • craft skills • creative expression • creativity and craft • cultural concept of technologycultural practicescultural technologycultural understanding of technologyculture and society • Eric Schatzberg • fear of technology • formal knowledge • genius of the individualhuman agencyinstrumental conception of technology • instrumental means • instrumental rationality • instrumentalism • inventive genius • just a tool • Karl Capek • Kevin Kellylate modernitymaterial culture • means to an end • modern technological civilization • new technologies • non-technical qualities • out of controlprogress narrativesscientific knowledgesocial hierarchiessymptomatic determinism • technical elite • technical skill • technician • technological action • technological choices • technological determinism • technological enthusiasts • technological instrumentalismtechnological utopianismtechnology as neutral • technology discourse • technology is a tooltechnology neutralitytechnology transparency • transparent technologies • value ladenvalues

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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