Co-evolution and practice theory: Focusing on technologies but not on technological change

In a previous post, I considered how accounts of change over time often identify multiple processes or sites of change that stitch together – in some way – as part of an overall pattern of interest to the researchers. Whilst these processes or sites could be studied in their own right as relevant contributors to, or aspects of, that change a co-evolutionary account is one that investigates and describes their interactions and mutual shaping. I elaborated this by drawing on an account of how domestic space and energy demand have evolved, developed by Kuijer and Watson (2017), and asked what kinds of relationships or interactions were evident and necessary to identifying co-evolutionary processes. In particular, I asked whether and when it is important to identify sequences.

In this post, I continue to inquire into co-evolution, and what it implies for thinking about societal change. Continue reading

Co-evolution and domestic heating: does sequence matter?

The term co-evolution is commonly used in sociological writing to refer to processes of change that happen simultaneously and interact, so that each shapes the other (or others) and is shaped by them. For example, it is commonly observed that technologies co-evolve with society, such that technologies are both socially constructed and influence, enable and limit the events, trends and changes that takes place across social life more broadly. Continue reading

Artfully observing the Internet & AI

A genuinely fascinating seminar at Lancaster University’s Digital Science Institute on 27 October 2017, given by Anna Munster from University of New South Wales, raised new questions for me about how artists interrogate digital phenomena. For some reason, this hadn’t struck me as so interesting before, but Anna’s interpretation of a series of carefully selected works expertly showed how art, and our responses to it, can inform a complex feeling for digital technologies that embraces and explores the qualities of ambiguity, obscurity and impenetrability that they often present: a refreshing freedom from the aims of scholarly analysis to clarify, explicate and build theories. Continue reading