Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wiebe Bijker and other lovely distractions

The 4S conference that just wrapped up brought some really cool scholars into town. As it drew to a close, one of my supervisors Andrew Feenberg welcomed friend Wiebe Bijker into the ACT Lab to have a really cool informal roundtable talk. Background: together with Trevor Pinch, Bijker is credited with starting the movement known as Social Construction of Technology within the sociology of science. It was a movement that had the overarching intention of counteracting what some saw as the dominant doctrine of Technological Determinism.
Even though Bijker was probably jet-lagged and on his way to catch a flight back to the Netherlands, he still blew me away with his graciousness and articulateness during what amounted to ten of us grilling him for over two hours about the social construction of technology (SCOT) and where it's going! I took many notes, but my favourite thing he said (that had me absolutely smitten by the end) was that his "dream" for STS was for it to "become more anthropological," (sitting at the table with him, me looks like the Cheshire cat). And, he talked about having a 'passion' for his work and the things he was involved in. Ok, that if he didn't win me over before with the anthro thing...
I liked how he looked to Feenberg to help him resolve the 'ontological' issues in conjunction with his more 'empirical' revelations in his studies. Having the same thing in mind with trying to combine ethnography with critical theory and its cognates in my writing... definitely someone with whom I want to continue having a dialogue. I love little intellectual meetings like this. They're little infusions of outside encouragement that we all need now and then to keep at it.

On another note of what's been keeping me occupied, there is the user research I've been conducting for Nokia through those at MobileMuse including Richard Smith. There's a blog entry on it from my project partner Jean H├ębert on what it's been like so far. We are still in the midst of these focus groups (one of which is today), so there will definitely be more -stuff- as we get more data.

Fieldwork is always messy, but rewarding. I suppose that can be said for many a thing.

Technorati tags: 4s, Feenberg, Bijker, Nokia, Mobilemuse, fieldwork


Blogger Florence Chee said...

On her blog "Geeks and global justice" Kate has some great verbatim quotes and extensions from the Bijker discussion here:

Thanks Kate!

11:58 AM  

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