Do Categories Have Politics? The Language/Action Perspective Reconsidered

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Do Categories Have Politics? The Language/Action Perspective Reconsidered
: Drawing on writings within the CSCW community and on recent social theory, this paper proposes that the adoption of speech act theory as a foundation for system design carries with it an agenda of discipline and control over organization members' actions. I begin with a brief review of the language/action perspective introduced by Winograd, Flores and their colleagues, focusing in particular on the categorization of speakers' intent. I then turn to, some observations on the politics of categorization and, wiith that framework as background, consider the attempt, through THE COORDINATOR, to implement a technological system for intentionaccounting within organizations. Finally, I suggest the implications of the analysis presented in the paper for the politics of CSCW systems design. No idea is more provocative in controversies about technology and society than the notion that technical things have political qualities. At issue is the claim that machines, structures, and syste...
Lucy A. Suchman
Added 02 Nov 2010
Updated 02 Nov 2010
Type Conference
Year 1993
Authors Lucy A. Suchman
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