Has society changed because of computers (technological determinism) or has information technology developed in certain ways because of social conditions? Hakken (in 1993) argues that social change results more from the way people interpret computerization than any kind of technological determinism.
Bruno Latour’s actor-network approach: the perspective that relationships include objects as well as people in relationships. Objects have their own impact in how people connect to each other: they have their own life histories, agendas, meanings (which could come from other actors – i.e., the people who made the objects).
Prior to the mid-1990s: Much of the early social science literature on information technology came from three basic approaches: work (studies of the workplace); communication (computer-mediated communication – shift from one-to-many to many-to-many); cybernetics (the studies of systems – this was big during the cold war – now we see it in terms of systems theory, organizational theory, etc.).
Emergence of approaches in STS approached information technology at its own level: issues of identity, virtual communities, etc. (like we read in Turkel, Haraway, and Edwards).
Questions to think about:
Do computers and information technology have a culture?
How do we do research “in-person” (fieldwork) using information technologies?