Project Becoming and Knowing Trajectories. : An Epistemological Perspective on Human and Nonhuman Project Making

Sammanfattning:   In our ‘projectified’ and ‘knowledge-intensive’ society, industrial projects have been proposed as important “journeys of knowledge creation” or “places for knowledge integration”. To date, such perspectives have mainly used traditional cognitive and contextual theories of knowledge and have thus mostly been focused on human actors and their interaction. However, other research suggests that a) knowledge can be seen as a process (knowing) and b) that projects can be seen as actor networks made by human as well as nonhuman elements.   Combining these two insights, a complementary epistemological perspective is created in this thesis. Drawing from the processual ontological notion of ‘project becoming’ and the actor-network theory notion of ‘heterogeneous engineering’, the processual concept of heterogeneous project making is suggested here. The purpose of this thesis is then to create a processual and interrelational perspective on how knowing is shaped through heterogeneous project making. The empirical basis of this thesis consists of a six-month ethnographical study of an industrial project in the telecom industry that was set up to develop and manufacture a radio base station.   The perspective presented in this thesis suggests that heterogeneous project making can be seen as the continuous shaping of past, present, future and context (knowing dimensions) which in turn shape and relate to a knowing trajectory. The notion of a knowing trajectory implies movement, a path, which is suggested here as elusive, fluent and influenced by the work of many heterogeneous actors, rather than being the result of a (socially or technologically) deterministic process. The perspective developed also conceptualises and illustrates how such a knowing trajectory takes shape. Finally, theoretical and practical implications of this perspective are suggested.