By Lucy Suchman
This 2007 e-book considers how organizations are at present figured on the human-machine interface, and the way they may be imaginatively and materially reconfigured. opposite to the obvious enlivening of gadgets promised by means of the sciences of the bogus, the writer proposes that the rhetorics and practices of these sciences paintings to vague the performative nature of either individuals and issues. The query then shifts from debates over the prestige of human-like machines, to that of the way people and machines are enacted as comparable or diverse in perform, and with what theoretical, useful and political effects. Drawing on scholarship around the social sciences, humanities and computing, the writer argues for study geared toward tracing the diversities inside particular sociomaterial preparations with no resorting to essentialist divides. This calls for increasing our unit of study, whereas spotting the inevitable cuts or limitations during which technological structures are constituted.
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Extra info for Human-Machine Reconfigurations: Plans and Situated Actions
How to act purposefully is learned and subject to cultural variation. European culture favors abstract, analytic thinking, the ideal being to reason from general principles to particular instances. The Trukese, in contrast, having no such ideological commitments, learn a cumulative range of concrete, embodied responses, guided by the wisdom of memory and experience over years of actual voyages. In the pages that follow, however, I argue that all activity, even the most analytic, is fundamentally concrete and embodied.
For detailed accounts of Pacific island navigational traditions, see also Lewis (1972), Hutchins (1983), and Turnbull (1990, 2000). 2 Alternatively, we might posit that whether our actions are ad hoc or planned depends on the nature of the activity or our degree of expertise. So we might contrast instrumental, goal-directed activities with creative or expressive activities or contrast novice with expert behavior. Dividing things up along these lines, however, seems in some important ways to violate our navigation example.
For a brilliant and generative proposal for what he names a “science of singularity,” see de Certeau (1988). 5 Although I generally agree with this injunction, my investigation of one of the prevailing models of human action in cognitive science is admittedly and unabashedly interested. That is to say, I take it that there is a reality of human action, beyond either the cognitive scientist’s models or my own accounts, to which both are trying to do justice. In that sense, I am examining the cognitive science model not just with the dispassion of the uncommitted anthropologist of science but also in light of an alternative account of human action to which I am committed and that I attempt to clarify in the process.