Getting caught between discourse(s): hybrid choices in technology use at work

Chris Ivory, Fred Sherratt, Rebecca Casey, Kayleigh Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Winner (1977, Autonomous Technology, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 77), in defense of technology determinism, cautioned against ‘throwing out the baby with the methodological bathwater’. His concern was that in so doing STS research would underplay, or be unable to account for, the effects that technology change does have on society. We similarly now find that powerful explanatory concepts like ‘structural‐discourse’ have been largely expunged from the contemporary STS analytical lexicon; with consequences, we believe, for our ability as researchers to interpret and explain the rapid change we see in contemporary work places. In this paper we make the case for the continued use of a strong structural‐discourse theory alongside other emergent forms of discourse. We show how workers, responding to conflicting and different types of discourse, produce varying hybrid responses—actions that react to and combine elements of emergent and structural discourses. Our work considers the implications of this finding for contemporary STS theory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-96
JournalNew Technology, Work and Employment
Volume35
Issue number1
Early online date25 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

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