Accepted Paper:

I'm in love with my car" - Postphenomenology and emotions  


Finn Olesen (Aarhus University)
Bente Hull Frich (Aarhus University)

Paper short abstract:

We suggest that emotions are not just epiphenomenons to embodied, deliberated agency, they co-produce agency and its meaning. Using case studies and the works of Heidegger and Sartre we will outline a potential application of emotion studies to sociotechnical research.

Paper long abstract:

While our perceptions and their complex roles for human-technology relations have been widely explored in postphenological research, indeed almost as a trademark of this domain, emotions have not systematically been investigated as a relevant source of understanding the relationships between human beings and technological devices. This seems to be the case in spite of all those cases, where the emotional attitudes of a person toward technology appears to affect the meaning and dynamics of the relation. A car driver may ride her powerful racing car with joy; a nurse may fear the next telemediated consultation with a patient, because of her physical distance to the patience; a costumer may shout out in anger in front of the ATM machine that does not deliver. The examples are legio.

We suggest that emotions are not just epiphenomenons to embodied, perceptual, deliberated interactions, they are co-producers of agency. While feelings can be seen as sensory input detection in a person, emotions regard the meanings of our feelings. Hence, if emotions are non-neutral components in human-technology relations, how can they be demarcated and studied separately? And how could postphenomenology (and STS) benefit from using emotions as a theoretical resource?

In the presentation we will outline a possible answer to these questions, drawing on case studies and relevant literature, not least Heidegger's concept of Sorge, that suggest a conceptual middleground between deliberations and emotions, and Sartre's early idea of emotions as intentional and strategic ways of coping with challenging situations.

Panel T145
Postphenomenological Research: Technologies, Robots, and Human Identity