CfP: Open Panel at EASST/4S 2012, The Construction of Social Computing: Design and Displacement of Hybrid Relationships


Maurizio Teli, Ahref Foundation, Italy,
Vincenzo D'Andrea, University of Trento, Italy,
David Hakken, Indiana University, USA,

In the last few years, the label "Social Computing" (SC) has been
increasingly used to identify the ensemble of computing applications
developed in order to foster and sustain social relationships . The
use of the label seems to imply that SC is engaging with hybrid
socio-technical relationships, underlining a change in computer

Nevertheless, SC is in line with the origin of computer science, in
particular with the computing development program promoted in the '50s
by Norbert Wiener, aiming at promoting a society that increases the
"human use of human beings". However, although many applications are
labeled "social computing," they are mainly commoditized, to generate
profit for corporations, and they focus on a restricted set of
application domains.

Such practical displacement of the societal view of Wiener calls for a
deep reflection based on an empirical perspective able to frame SC
through an STS lens, for two main reasons. Firstly, SC is an academic
and social construction, and its design and foundational discourses
can be understood and questioned through an STS lens. Secondly, the
use of the term SC builds constraints on how innovation can take place
in the social arena of SC. Along with these premises, an STS lens can
increase the understanding of the hybrid relationships designed and
displaced by SC academic practices, as well as overcoming the
constraints of SC discourses providing conceptual and methodological
tools to design new kind of SC technologies. Taking this perspective,
we ask for contributions addressing:

1) the academic and industrial construction of SC within and across disciplines;
2) the design of social relationships in SC initiatives and their
displacement in SC use;
3) the engagement of STS researchers, lexicon, and methods, as a
practice-based intervention in the design of SC technologies;
4) the facilitation of social inclusion in SC projects.

Please submit your abstract (max 250 words) electronically via the
webpage of the conference:

Deadline is the 18th March 2012.

See you in Copenhagen!


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