Technology Encounters : Exploring the essence of ordinary computing

Sammanfattning: As computing technology has become a vital part of everyday life, studies have increasingly scrutinized the underlying meaning of computational things. As different devices become interwoven with daily practices and routines, there is a growing interest in understanding not only their functional meaning in computational terms but also their meaning in relation to other non-computation artefacts.This thesis investigates how people relate to artefacts and how their individual values and attitudes affect this relationship.  The analysis is based on four ethnographic studies, which look at the richness of ordinary interactions with technology to understand the impact of technology upon practice and experience.The process through which humans develop a relationship to artefacts is framed as a continuous series of encounters, through which the individual constantly reshapes their relationship to things.  Artefacts are seen as lines in the mesh of everyday life, and the encounters are the intersections between lines. This approach–grounded in phenomenology and paired with an anthropological understanding of everyday life–reconceptualises understanding of the processes of adaption, meaning-making, disposing and recycling. The work reveals how human relations to all kinds of things–in the form of meaning–is continually transforming. Core to this understanding is the cultural relative essence that becomes perceived of the artefacts themselves. This essence deeply affects the way we encounter and thus interact with technology, as well as objects more broadly. In the daily interaction with computing devices we can observe that computing technology alters the mesh on a different level than non-computational artefacts: digital interfaces pull our lines together, bundle experiences an affect how we encounter the material and the social world. This enables computing devices to have meanings distinct from non-computing technology. To go further, computing is itself a mode of existence – a crucial difference in things that helps us understand the complexity of the material world.