Poiesis & Praxis

, Volume 7, Issue 1–2, pp 87–98

Situated (un-)learning in software design: a deconstructive approach

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Abstract

Constructive technology assessment aims at anticipating societal impacts of technological innovations and suggests incorporating reflexivity and social learning into technology development. Social learning involves fostering the ability of diverse social actors to cultivate sociotechnical critical skills, thus allowing technological and social change to be governed with consideration for social values and diverging interests. Based on this demand, our paper presents a discourse-theoretical, interventionist approach to software design introducing deconstruction and (un-)learning as reflective practices to guide development processes. Inspired by Donna Haraway’s focus on power relations in technoscience culture, our approach—called ‘deconstructive design’—traces how structures such as in/formal hierarchies and discursive hegemonies affect the development processes and design decisions of teams or communities of practices. The underlying deconstructivist methodology refers to practice-based concepts of situated learning. Thus, it locates a potential for value-based intervention at the micro/meso-level of everyday work practices.

Zusammenfassung

Constructive Technology Assessement zielt darauf ab, soziale Auswirkungen technologischer Innovationen zu antizipieren und schlägt vor, bereits im Rahmen der Entwicklung von Technologien Reflexivität und soziales Lernen zu institutionalisieren. Soziales Lernen soll die soziotechnische Kritikfähigkeit diverser sozialer Akteure/Akteurinnen fördern, um auf diese Weise technologischen und gesellschaftlichen Wandel so zu steuern, dass soziale Werte und unterschiedliche Interessen Beachtung finden. Ausgehend von dieser Forderung, stellt unser Beitrag einen diskurstheoretischen, interventionistischen Softwareentwicklungsansatz vor, der Dekonstruktion und (Ver-)Lernen als reflexive Praktiken in den Entwicklungsprozess integriert. Inspiriert von Donna Haraways machtkritischem Zugang zur Technowissenschaft, macht ‚Deconstructive Design’ sichtbar, wie gesellschaftliche Strukturen in Softwareentwicklungsprozessen wirksam werden, indem in/formelle Hierarchien und hegemoniale Diskurse Designentscheidungen mitgestalten. Die unserem Ansatz zugrunde liegende dekonstruktivistische Methodologie wird mit praxis-basierten Konzepten von situiertem Lernen verknüpft. Das Potenzial für werte-basierte Intervention wird damit auf der Mikro/Meso-Ebene alltäglicher Arbeitspraktiken verortet.

Résumé

Constructive technology assessment a pour but d’anticiper les impacts sociaux d’innovations technologiques et suggère d’incorporer la réflexivité et l’apprentissage sociétal au développement des technologies. L’apprentissage sociétal sert à cultiver l’aptitude des acteurs sociaux divers à formuler une critique sociotechnique et ainsi à gouverner le changement technologique et social en considérant les valeurs sociales et les intérêts divergents. A partir de cette demande, notre article présente une approche interventionniste et théorique de la conception logicielle introduisant la déconstruction et le (dés)apprentissage comme pratiques réflectives pour instruire le processus de développement. Inspiré par l’attention portée par Donna Haraway aux relations de pouvoir dans les technosciences, la ‘conception déconstructive’ regarde la manière dont les hiérarchies formelles et informelles ainsi que les hégémonies discursives influent sur le processus de développement. La méthodologie déconstructiviste se réfère à un concept de l’apprentissage situé dans des contextes de pratiques. Ainsi la possibilité d’intervenir sur la base de valeurs sociales se localise au niveau micro/meso des pratiques de travail quotidiennes.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.WU ViennaGender and Diversity Management GroupViennaAustria
  2. 2.Institute of Technology AssessmentAustrian Academy of SciencesViennaAustria

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