Doing Research, Doing Politics: ICT Research as a Form of Activism
Why do we do research into ICTs and society at all? Apart from advancing our analytical understanding of technological and social change, for many researchers, social studies of technology provide a way of supplying evidence for social policy, or shaping social practice. Even if we do not always make it explicit, for many of us, our research is both political and personal.
In this paper, I consider the ways in which social and political values shape research questions and research methods. Drawing on examples of recent feminist and other research which has investigated the employment relations of technological change, I discuss the academic and political ambitions of the work, the recognition of interests and the involvement of stakeholders, and the relationship between researchers and ‘users’ of the research. I reflect on the importance of revealing and explicating the politics of ICT research, particularly in the context of imminent economic and social restructuring.
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