How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (Paperback)

Nelly Oudshoorn, Trevor Pinch




Users have become an integral part of technology studies. The essays in this volume look at the creative capacity of users to shape technology in all phases, from design to implementation. Using a variety of theoretical approaches, including a feminist focus on users and use (in place of the traditional emphasis on men and machines), concepts from semiotics, and the cultural studies view of consumption as a cultural activity, these essays examine what users do with technology and, in turn, what technology does to users. The contributors consider how users consume, modify, domesticate, design, reconfigure, and resist technological development--and how users are defined and transformed by technology.

The essays in part I show that resistance to and non-use of a technology can be a crucial factor in the eventual modification and improvement of that technology; examples considered include the introduction of the telephone into rural America and the influence of non-users of the Internet. The essays in part II look at advocacy groups and the many kinds of users they represent, particularly in the context of health care and clinical testing. The essays in part III examine the role of users in different phases of the design, testing, and selling of technology. Included here is an enlightening account of one company's design process for men's and women's shavers, which resulted in a "Ladyshave" for users assumed to be technophobes.

Taken together, the essays in How Users Mattershow that any understanding of users must take into consideration the multiplicity of roles they play--and that the conventional distinction between users and producers is largely artificial.

Nelly Oudshoorn is Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the University of Twente in the Netherlands.

Trevor Pinch is Professor of Science and Technology Studies and Professor of Sociology at Cornell University.


Table of Contents:

Preface ix
Introduction: How Users and Non-Users Matter
Nelly Oudshoorn and Trevor Pinch
I. Users and Non-Users as Active Agents in the (De-) Stabilization of Technologies
1. From the Shadows: Users as Designers, Producers, Marketers, Distributors, and Technical Support
Christina Lindsay
2. Resisting Consumer Technology in Rural America: The Telephone and Electrification
Ronald Kline
3. Non-Users Also Matter: The Construction of Users and Non-Users of the Internet
Sally Wyatt
4. Escape Vehicles? The Internet and the Automobile in a Local-Global Intersection
Anne Sofie Laegran
II. Multiple Spokespersons: States and Social Movements as Representatives of Users
5. Citizens as Users of Technology: An Exploratory Study of Vaccines and Vaccination
Dale Rose and Stuart S. Blume
6. Knowledge Is Power: Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer and Patient Activism in the United States and Britain
Shobita Parthasarathy
7 Who Represents the Users? Critical Encounters between Women's Health Advocates and Scientists in Contraceptive R&D
Jessika van Kammen
8. Inclusion, Diversity, and Biomedical Knowledge Making: The Multiple Politics of Representation
Steven A. Epstein
III. Multiplicity in Locations: Configuring the User during the Design, the Testing, and the Selling of Technologies
9. Materialized Gender: How Shavers Configure the Users' Femininity and Masculinity
Ellen van Oost
10. Clinical Trials as a Cultural Niche in Which to Configure the Gender Identities of Users: The Case of Male Contraceptive Development
Nelly Oudshoorn
11. The Mediated Design of Products, Consumption, and Consumers in the Twentieth Century
Johan Schot and Adri Albert de la Bruheze
12. Giving Birth to New Users: How the Minimoog Was Sold to Rock and Roll
Trevor Pinch
Notes 271
References 295
List of Contributors 335
Index 339


這本書的文章探討了使用者在科技研究中的創造能力,從設計到實施的各個階段,使用各種理論方法,包括對使用者和使用的女性主義關注(取代了對男性和機器的傳統強調),符號學的概念,以及將消費視為文化活動的文化研究觀點,這些文章探討了使用者如何使用科技,以及科技對使用者的影響。作者們考慮了使用者如何消費、修改、馴化、設計、重新配置和抵制技術發展,以及使用者如何被技術所定義和轉變。第一部分的文章表明,對技術的抵制和非使用可以成為最終修改和改進該技術的關鍵因素;其中考慮的例子包括電話引入美國鄉村地區和互聯網的非使用者的影響。第二部分的文章探討了倡導團體及其代表的各種使用者,特別是在醫療保健和臨床測試的背景下。第三部分的文章探討了使用者在技術設計、測試和銷售的不同階段中的角色。其中包括一家公司對男性和女性剃鬚刀的設計過程的啟發性描述,結果是為被認為是科技恐懼症的使用者設計的“Ladyshave”。綜合起來,《使用者的重要性》一書的文章表明,對使用者的任何理解都必須考慮到他們所扮演的多重角色,而傳統上對使用者和生產者之間的區分在很大程度上是人為的。Nelly Oudshoorn是荷蘭特溫特大學科學與技術研究教授,Trevor Pinch是康奈爾大學科學與技術研究和社會學教授。