Theories

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In Chapter 6, “Informational and Communicational Explanations of Corporations

as Interaction Systems,” Richard J. Varey argues that whilst many

proponents of “interactive communication” and “social interaction” do not see

the concept as problematic, they focus attention on practices. In this chapter,

Richard Varey chose to re-examine both “interaction” and “communication,”

and to relate these concepts to the concepts of society and organization/corporation.

In this chapter, the concept of “interaction” is examined and social interaction

is considered as exchange. The patterning of social interaction in markets,

bureaucracies, solidarity groupings, and co-operative collectives, and their

respective core values are considered. The “organization” is explained as a

complex dynamic interaction system. An alternative sociological analysis of the

social is then compared with that of the social psychology tradition. Communication

is discussed as a mode of interaction, to reveal monologic and dialogic

conceptions of communication. In the end of the chapter conclusions are raised

around the themes of “interactive communication,” IT, and dialogue and appreciation

in a society constituted by interaction. Interaction, it is concluded, requires

presence, whereas ICT allows absence.

In Chapter 7, “Fluid Interaction in Mobile Work Practices,” Masao

Kakihara, Carsten Sørensen & Mikael Wiberg discuss the increasing fluidity

of interaction that workers perform in contemporary work settings. According

to the authors, everyday working life is increasingly constituted of a

heterogeneous mélange where people, work objects and symbols as well as

their interactions are distributed in time, space and across contexts. When considering

interaction where participants, work, and interactional objects are mobile,

the challenges of supporting the fluidity of interaction in collocated settings

are immense. This chapter outline mobile interaction in terms of the fluid

topological metaphor and analyses the dimensions of struggling with fluid mobile

interaction based on a framework characterising interactional asymmetries.

In Chapter 8, “Mobile IT as Immutable Mobiles? Exploring the Enabling

Qualities of a Mobile IT Application,” Jonny Holmström explores the social

consequences of mobile IT. In this chapter it is argued that even though the

need for better theorizing on the topic has been highlighted recently, most attempts

to date have failed not only to properly explore the social consequences

of mobile IT, but also in being specific about the technology itself in any detail.

Further on, the author argues that a promising approach with which to explore

mobile IT and its social consequences may be found in actor network theory

(ANT). ANT’s rich methodology embraces scientific realism in its central concept

of hybrids that are simultaneously technological and social. The advantages

of conceiving mobile IT applications immersed in and a part of a network

of hybrids are explored by drawing from a project concerned with mobile IT

use in the context of the mobile bank terminal (MBT). In the project reported

from in this chapter it was found that the users were less than enthusiastic over

the MBT, and two key problems were identified: First, the poor design of MBT

hampered the possibilities for ad-hoc activities. Second, the users felt that adhoc

activities could be seem as somewhat irresponsible in the context of banking

business. To this end, the problems related to the MBT use were both social

and technical. The author concludes this chapter by identifying and elaborating

on some aspects of the social consequences of mobile IT use in order to shed

new light on the possibilities and challenges that mobile IT use conveys.

In Chapter 9, “Supporting Proximate Communities with P3-Systems: Technology

for Connecting People-to-People-to-Geographical-Places,”

Quentin Jones & Sukeshini A. Grandhi examine systems that link Peopleto-

People-to-geographical-Places, which the authors label P3-Systems. In this

chapter four major P3-Systems design approaches have been identified by an

analysis of systems prototyped to date: (1) People Centric P3-System design

that use absolute user location, based on awareness of where somebody is

located (e.g., Active Badge); (2) People Centric P3-System design based on

user co-location/proximity (e.g., RoamWare, FolkMusic and Hocman); (3) Place

Centric P3-System design based on the use of virtual spaces that contain representations

of user’s use of physical spaces (e.g., ActiveMap); and (4) Place

Centric P3-System design based on the use of virtual spaces that contain online

interactions related to physical location (e.g., Geonotes). This chapter explores

how proximate community member interactions can potentially be well

supported by P3-Systems through the improved geographical contextualization

and coordination of interactions and the identification of previously unidentified

location-based affinities between community members.