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On the multi-instabilities of assembled things
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
Indiana university.
2015 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

One of the key features of a postphenomenological account is its attention to the multistability of artifacts and the many variations that are possible in use. In other words, any given artifact can be perceived and appropriated in a vast number of ways. Recognition and analysis of these multistabilities counters technologically-deterministic readings of artifacts that might see them in the more narrow light of intended use cases and dominant narratives around particular kinds of (technological) progress. It thus helps to ward off reductive approaches that can risk misunderstanding or not seeing what technologies actually do in the world in various contexts, and it does this by pointing to the rich variety of predispositions and possibilities that creative human beings bring to their engagements with the world.

However, in addition to the possibilities around use, and especially when dealing with contemporary technologies, there is now what might be seen as another kind of destabilizing dynamic that is inherent in the technologies themselves. Many of the technologies that we now interact with on an everyday basis are digital products and services that are dynamic and unique in many ways—not only in the interactions and uses they support, but also in their very constitution as things assembled and made available for use. We here outline an account of the multi-instabilities of dynamically-assembled contemporary digital things, suggesting that such a framing and analysis is required in order to understand their character and the many roles they play in the world.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
philosophy of technology, postphenomenology, multistability, fluid assemblages
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-112445OAI: diva2:877741
Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) 2015, Denver, Colorado, 11-15 November 2015
Available from: 2015-12-07 Created: 2015-12-07 Last updated: 2016-01-18Bibliographically approved

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Redström, JohanWiltse, Heather
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Umeå Institute of Design

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