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Asda Aasd

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  • May 2011
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Theories of sociotechnical change seek to understand technology as both material and social artifacts. A long tradition of technological change research has identified the importance of theoretical concepts that do not distinguish a priori between the technological/scientific and the social/cultural/economic/political aspects of technological change (Bijker, 1995). In the world of information technology (IT) research, this tradition has influenced the use of “ensemble” theories of IT change, which have been used to understand the dynamic interactions of people and technology during IT development and use (Orlikowski and Iacono, 2001). One of the most popular and influential approaches to sociotechnical change in IT research has been actor-network theory (ANT), as developed by Latour, Callon, and colleagues (McLoughlin, 1999; Law, 1999). An early review of ANT in IT research cites examples of its application to IT development, IT-enabled organizational change, computer-mediated communication, and infrastructure standards (Walsham, 1997). A major focus of Actor-Network Theory is to explain how stable networks of sociotechnical relations are created and maintained by the strategies of both human and non-human “actants” (e.g. Akrich, 1992; Latour, 1992). A major attraction of ANT for IT research, and one of its most controversial elements, is its symmetric treatment of people and technologies as members of actor-networks. The concept of a non-human “actant” (i.e. an information technology), influencing a network on the basis of the interests and assumptions inscribed within it, is one that has an undeniable appeal for understanding the IT world of today, where pre-packaged systems and global standards are routinely transplanted between very different use contexts. This paper uses a key concept from ANT, enrollment in an actor-network, to account for the origins of the most commercially successful forms of personal digital assistant (PDA) technology. The enrollment...

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