Out here and in there: intervening in HCI's outwardly moves from the comfort of the ubicomp home
Paper short abstract:
Prompted by HCI's outwardly moves towards people and disciplines "out there", this paper uses the case of the ubicomp home to make visible how the boundaries of "in here" and "out there" are drawn in such ways as to create insiders and outsiders, natives and detached observers
Paper long abstract:
Over the last years there has been a shift in computer science and HCI away from a technology-centred approach to computational design, and towards a more human-centred one. Such broad explorations meant that the field of HCI has been expanding its foci by looking, as Alex Taylor put it, "Out there" (2011), towards worlds and people further afield than 'its own kind', only (and somewhat unsurprisingly) to discover a world of 'sizeable yet marginalised' groups of people. Such outwardly moves facilitated interdisciplinary collaborations with fields such as STS as HCI researchers and practitioners are "reaching out" with a renewed interest to the social sciences and humanities for guidance on tackling the world "out there".
In this paper, and using the ubicomp home as a case, I want to walk alongside Taylor in thinking deeply about what exactly HCI is doing in casting an eye "out there"' while seeking to do what our kind of people do best. Namely denaturalising and making visible how the boundaries of "in here" and "out there" are drawn and how they are drawn in such ways as to create insiders and outsiders, natives and detached observers. This way this paper seeks to be an intervention; one that does not offer solutions on how to build feminist/ ethical/ better technologies, but an intervention all the same on how to tell, challenge and ultimate change technological stories in the hope that by narrating the past differently, we can open new possibilities for the future.
STS meet ICT: politics and the collaborative turn in STS