Kirsten A. Foot

Kirsten A. Foot is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington, and lead author of Web Campaigning (MIT Press).

  • Media Technologies

    Media Technologies

    Essays on Communication, Materiality, and Society

    Tarleton Gillespie, Pablo J. Boczkowski, and Kirsten A. Foot

    Scholars from communication and media studies join those from science and technology studies to examine media technologies as complex, sociomaterial phenomena.

    In recent years, scholarship around media technologies has finally shed the assumption that these technologies are separate from and powerfully determining of social life, looking at them instead as produced by and embedded in distinct social, cultural, and political practices. Communication and media scholars have increasingly taken theoretical perspectives originating in science and technology studies (STS), while some STS scholars interested in information technologies have linked their research to media studies inquiries into the symbolic dimensions of these tools. In this volume, scholars from both fields come together to advance this view of media technologies as complex sociomaterial phenomena.

    The contributors first address the relationship between materiality and mediation, considering such topics as the lived realities of network infrastructure. The contributors then highlight media technologies as always in motion, held together through the minute, unobserved work of many, including efforts to keep these technologies alive.

    Contributors Pablo J. Boczkowski, Geoffrey C. Bowker, Finn Brunton, Gabriella Coleman, Gregory J. Downey, Kirsten A. Foot, Tarleton Gillespie, Steven J. Jackson, Christopher M. Kelty, Leah A. Lievrouw, Sonia Livingstone, Ignacio Siles, Jonathan Sterne, Lucy Suchman, Fred Turner

    • Paperback $36.00 £28.00
  • Web Campaigning

    Web Campaigning

    Kirsten A. Foot and Steven M. Schneider

    The use of the Web in U.S. political campaigns has developed dramatically over the course of the last several election seasons. In Web Campaigning, Kirsten Foot and Steven Schneider examine the evolution of campaigns' Web practices, based on hundreds of campaign Web sites produced by a range of political actors during the U.S. elections of 2000, 2002, and 2004. Their developmental analyses of how and why campaign organizations create specific online structures illuminates the reciprocal relationship between these production practices and the structures of both the campaign organization and the electoral arena. This practice-based approach and the focus on campaigns as Web producers make the book a significant methodological and theoretical contribution to both science and technology studies and political communication scholarship.

    Foot and Schneider explore the inherent tension between the desire of campaigns to maintain control over messages and resources and the generally decentralizing dynamic of Web-based communication. They analyze specific strategies by which campaigns mitigate this, examining the ways that the production techniques, coproducing Web content, online-offline convergence, and linking to other Web sites mediate the practices of informing, involving, connecting, and mobilizing supporters. Their conclusions about the past decade's trajectory of Web campaigning point the way to a political theory of technology and a technologically grounded theory of electoral politics.

    A digital installation available on the web illustrates core concepts discussed in the text of the book with examples drawn from archived campaign Web sites. Users have the opportunity to search these concepts in the context of fully operational campaign sites, recreating the Web experience of users during the election periods covered in the book.

    • Hardcover $60.00 £41.95
    • Paperback $9.75 £7.99

Contributor

  • Heteromation, and Other Stories of Computing and Capitalism

    Heteromation, and Other Stories of Computing and Capitalism

    Hamid R. Ekbia and Bonnie A. Nardi

    An exploration of a new division of labor between machines and humans, in which people provide value to the economy with little or no compensation.

    The computerization of the economy—and everyday life—has transformed the division of labor between humans and machines, shifting many people into work that is hidden, poorly compensated, or accepted as part of being a “user” of digital technology. Through our clicks and swipes, logins and profiles, emails and posts, we are, more or less willingly, participating in digital activities that yield economic value to others but little or no return to us. Hamid Ekbia and Bonnie Nardi call this kind of participation—the extraction of economic value from low-cost or free labor in computer-mediated networks—“heteromation.” In this book, they explore the social and technological processes through which economic value is extracted from digitally mediated work, the nature of the value created, and what prompts people to participate in the process.

    Arguing that heteromation is a new logic of capital accumulation, Ekbia and Nardi consider different kinds of heteromated labor: communicative labor, seen in user-generated content on social media; cognitive labor, including microwork and self-service; creative labor, from gaming environments to literary productions; emotional labor, often hidden within paid jobs; and organizing labor, made up of collaborative groups such as citizen scientists. Ekbia and Nardi then offer a utopian vision: heteromation refigured to bring end users more fully into the prosperity of capitalism.

    • Hardcover $35.00 £27.00
  • Shifting Practices

    Shifting Practices

    Reflections on Technology, Practice, and Innovation

    Giovan Francesco Lanzara

    How disruptions and discontinuities caused by the introduction of new technologies often reveal aspects of practice not previously observed.

    What happens in an established practice or work setting when a novel artifact or tool for doing work changes the familiar work routines? Any unexpected event, or change, or technological innovation creates a discontinuity; organizations and individuals must reframe taken-for-granted assumptions and practices and reposition themselves. To study innovation as a phenomenon, then, we must search for situations of discontinuity and rupture and explore them in depth. In Shifting Practices, Giovan Francesco Lanzara does just that, and discovers that disruptions and discontinuities caused by the introduction of new technologies often reveal aspects of practice not previously observed.

    After discussing methodological and research issues, Lanzara presents two in-depth studies focusing on processes of design and innovation in two different practice settings: music education and criminal justice. In the first, he works with the music department of a major American university to develop Music LOGO, a computer system that allows students to explore musical structures with simple, composition-like exercises and experiments. In the second, he works with the Italian court system in the design and use of video technology for criminal trials. In both cases, drawing on anecdotes and examples as well as theory and analysis, he traces the new systems from design through implementation and adoption. Finally, Lanzara considers the researcher's role, and the relationship—encompassing empathy, vulnerability, and temporality—between the reflective researcher and actors in the practice setting.

    • Hardcover $39.00 £30.00
  • Technology Choices

    Technology Choices

    Why Occupations Differ in Their Embrace of New Technology

    Diane E. Bailey and Paul M. Leonardi

    An analysis of the occupational factors that shape the technology choices made by people who perform the same type of work.

    Why do people who perform largely the same type of work make different technology choices in the workplace? An automotive design engineer working in India, for example, finds advanced information and communication technologies essential, allowing him to work with far-flung colleagues; a structural engineer in California relies more on paper-based technologies for her everyday work; and a software engineer in Silicon Valley operates on multiple digital levels simultaneously all day, continuing after hours on a company-supplied home computer and network connection. In Technology Choices, Diane Bailey and Paul Leonardi argue that occupational factors—rather than personal preference or purely technological concerns—strongly shape workers' technology choices.

    Drawing on extensive field work—a decade's worth of observations and interviews in seven engineering firms in eight countries—Bailey and Leonardi challenge the traditional views of technology choices: technological determinism and social constructivism. Their innovative occupational perspective allows them to explore how external forces shape ideas, beliefs, and norms in ways that steer individuals to particular technology choices—albeit in somewhat predictable and generalizable ways. They examine three relationships at the heart of technology choices: human to technology, technology to technology, and human to human. An occupational perspective, they argue, helps us not only to understand past technology choices, but also to predict future ones.

    • Hardcover $34.00 £27.00
  • Coding Places

    Coding Places

    Software Practice in a South American City

    Yuri Takhteyev

    An examination of software practice in Brazil that reveals both the globalization and the localization of software development.

    Software development would seem to be a quintessential example of today's Internet-enabled “knowledge work”—a global profession not bound by the constraints of geography. In Coding Places, Yuri Takhteyev looks at the work of software developers who inhabit two contexts: a geographical area—in this case, greater Rio de Janeiro—and a “world of practice,” a global system of activities linked by shared meanings and joint practice. The work of the Brazilian developers, Takhteyev discovers, reveals a paradox of the world of software: it is both diffuse and sharply centralized. The world of software revolves around a handful of places—in particular, the San Francisco Bay area—that exercise substantial control over both the material and cultural elements of software production. Takhteyev shows how in this context Brazilian software developers work to find their place in the world of software and to bring its benefits to their city.

    Takhteyev's study closely examines Lua, an open source programming language developed in Rio but used in such internationally popular products as World of Warcraft and Angry Birds. He shows that Lua had to be separated from its local origins on the periphery in order to achieve success abroad. The developers, Portuguese speakers, used English in much of their work on Lua. By bringing to light the work that peripheral practitioners must do to give software its seeming universality, Takhteyev offers a revealing perspective on the not-so-flat world of globalization.

    • Hardcover $36.00 £28.00
  • Car Crashes without Cars

    Car Crashes without Cars

    Lessons about Simulation Technology and Organizational Change from Automotive Design

    Paul M. Leonardi

    A novel theory of organizational and technological change, illustrated by an account of the development and implementation of a computer-based simulation technology.

    Every workday we wrestle with cumbersome and unintuitive technologies. Our response is usually “That's just the way it is.” Even technology designers and workplace managers believe that certain technological changes are inevitable and that they will bring specific, unavoidable organizational changes. In this book, Paul Leonardi offers a new conceptual framework for understanding why technologies and organizations change as they do and why people think those changes had to occur as they did. He argues that technologies and the organizations in which they are developed and used are not separate entities; rather, they are made up of the same building blocks: social agency and material agency. Over time, social agency and material agency become imbricated—gradually interlocked—in ways that produce some changes we call “technological” and others we call “organizational.”

    Drawing on a detailed field study of engineers at a U.S. auto company, Leonardi shows that as the engineers developed and used a a new computer-based simulation technology for automotive design, they chose to change how their work was organized, which then brought new changes to the technology.Each imbrication of the social and the material obscured the actors' previous choices, making the resulting technological and organizational structures appear as if they were inevitable.

    Leonardi suggests that treating organizing as a process of sociomaterial imbrication allows us to recognize and act on the flexibility of information technologies and to create more effective work organizations.

    • Hardcover $9.75 £7.99
  • Invisible Users

    Invisible Users

    Youth in the Internet Cafés of Urban Ghana

    Jenna Burrell

    An account of how young people in Ghana's capital city adopt and adapt digital technology in the margins of the global economy.

    The urban youth frequenting the Internet cafés of Accra, Ghana, who are decidedly not members of their country's elite, use the Internet largely as a way to orchestrate encounters across distance and amass foreign ties—activities once limited to the wealthy, university-educated classes. The Internet, accessed on second-hand computers (castoffs from the United States and Europe), has become for these youths a means of enacting a more cosmopolitan self. In Invisible Users, Jenna Burrell offers a richly observed account of how these Internet enthusiasts have adopted, and adapted to their own priorities, a technological system that was not designed with them in mind.

    Burrell describes the material space of the urban Internet café and the virtual space of push and pull between young Ghanaians and the foreigners they encounter online; the region's famous 419 scam strategies and the rumors of “big gains” that fuel them; the influential role of churches and theories about how the supernatural operates through the network; and development rhetoric about digital technologies and the future viability of African Internet cafés in the region.

    Burrell, integrating concepts from science and technology studies and African studies with empirical findings from her own field work in Ghana, captures the interpretive flexibility of technology by users in the margins but also highlights how their invisibility puts limits on their full inclusion into a global network society.

    • Hardcover $36.00 £28.00
  • Venture Labor

    Venture Labor

    Work and the Burden of Risk in Innovative Industries

    Gina Neff

    Why employees of pioneering Internet companies chose to invest their time, energy, hopes, and human capital in start-up ventures.

    In the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, employees of Internet startups took risks—left well-paying jobs for the chance of striking it rich through stock options (only to end up unemployed a year later), relocated to areas that were epicenters of a booming industry (that shortly went bust), chose the opportunity to be creative over the stability of a set schedule. In Venture Labor, Gina Neff investigates choices like these made by high-tech workers in New York City's “Silicon Alley” in the 1990s. Why did these workers exhibit entrepreneurial behavior in their jobs—investing time, energy, and other personal resources that Neff terms “venture labor”—when they themselves were employees and not entrepreneurs?

    Neff argues that this behavior was part of a broader shift in society in which economic risk shifted away from collective responsibility toward individual responsibility. In the new economy, risk and reward took the place of job loyalty, and the dot-com boom helped glorify risks. Company flexibility was gained at the expense of employee security. Through extensive interviews, Neff finds not the triumph of the entrepreneurial spirit but a mixture of motivations and strategies, informed variously by bravado, naïveté, and cold calculation. She connects these individual choices with larger social and economic structures, making it clear that understanding venture labor is of paramount importance for encouraging innovation and, even more important, for creating sustainable work environments that support workers.

    • Hardcover $9.75 £7.99
    • Paperback $24.00 £18.99
  • Digitally Enabled Social Change

    Digitally Enabled Social Change

    Activism in the Internet Age

    Jennifer Earl and Katrina Kimport

    An investigation into how specific Web technologies can change the dynamics of organizing and participating in political and social protest.

    Much attention has been paid in recent years to the emergence of “Internet activism,” but scholars and pundits disagree about whether online political activity is different in kind from more traditional forms of activism. Does the global reach and blazing speed of the Internet affect the essential character or dynamics of online political protest? In Digitally Enabled Social Change, Jennifer Earl and Katrina Kimport examine key characteristics of web activism and investigate their impacts on organizing and participation.

    Earl and Kimport argue that the web offers two key affordances relevant to activism: sharply reduced costs for creating, organizing, and participating in protest; and the decreased need for activists to be physically together in order to act together. Drawing on evidence from samples of online petitions, boycotts, and letter-writing and e-mailing campaigns, Earl and Kimport show that the more these affordances are leveraged, the more transformative the changes to organizing and participating in protest.

    • Hardcover $32.00 £22.95
    • Paperback $24.00 £18.99
  • Scientific Collaboration on the Internet

    Scientific Collaboration on the Internet

    Gary M. Olson, Ann Zimmerman, and Nathan Bos

    The challenges and rewards of scientific collaboration enabled by information and communication technology, from theoretical approaches to in-depth case studies.

    Modern science is increasingly collaborative, as signaled by rising numbers of coauthored papers, papers with international coauthors, and multi-investigator grants. Historically, scientific collaborations were carried out by scientists in the same physical location—the Manhattan Project of the 1940s, for example, involved thousands of scientists gathered on a remote plateau in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Today, information and communication technologies allow cooperation among scientists from far-flung institutions and different disciplines. Scientific Collaboration on the Internet provides both broad and in-depth views of how new technology is enabling novel kinds of science and engineering collaboration. The book offers commentary from notable experts in the field along with case studies of large-scale collaborative projects, past and ongoing. The projects described range from the development of a national virtual observatory for astronomical research to a National Institutes of Health funding program for major multi-laboratory medical research; from the deployment of a cyberinfrastructure to connect experts in earthquake engineering to partnerships between developed and developing countries in AIDS research. The chapter authors speak frankly about the problems these projects encountered as well as the successes they achieved. The book strikes a useful balance between presenting the real stories of collaborations and developing a scientific approach to conceiving, designing, implementing, and evaluating such projects. It points to a future of scientific collaborations that build successfully on aspects from multiple disciplines.

    Contributors Mark S. Ackerman, Paul Avery, Matthew Bietz, Jeremy P. Birnholtz, Nathan Bos, Geoffrey C. Bowker, Randal Butler, David Conz, Eric Cook, Dan Cooney, Jonathon Cummings, Erik Dahl, Mark Ellisman, Ixchel Faniel, Thomas A. Finholt, Ian Foster, Jeffrey S. Grethe, Edward J. Hackett, Robert J. Hanisch, Libby Hemphill, Tony Hey, Erik C. Hofer, Mark James, Carl Kessleman, Sara Kiesler, Timothy L. Killeen, Airong Luo, Kelly L. Maglaughlin, Doru Marcusiu, Shawn McKee, William K. Michener, James D. Myers, Marsha Naidoo, Michael Nentwich, Gary M. Olson, Judith S. Olson, James Onken, Andrew Parker, John N. Parker, Mary Puetz, David Ribes, Kathleen Ricker, Diana Rhoten, Michael E. Rogers, Titus Schleyer, Diane H. Sonnenwald, B. F. Spencer, Jr., Stephanie D. Teasley, Anne Trefethen, Robert B. Waide, Mary C. Whitton, William Wulf, Jason Yerkie, Ann Zimmerman

    • Hardcover $10.75 £8.99
  • Civic Life Online

    Civic Life Online

    Learning How Digital Media Can Engage Youth

    W. Lance Bennett

    The relationship of participation in online communities to civic and political engagement.

    Young people today have grown up living substantial portions of their lives online, seeking entertainment, social relationships, and a place to express themselves. It is clear that participation in online communities is important for many young people, but less clear how this translates into civic or political engagement. This volume examines the relationship of online action and real-world politics. The contributors discuss not only how online networks might inspire conventional political participation but also how creative uses of digital technologies are expanding the boundaries of politics and public issues. Do protests in gaming communities, music file sharing, or fan petitioning of music companies constitute political behavior? Do the communication skills and patterns of action developed in these online activities transfer to such offline realms as voting and public protests? Civic Life Online describes the many forms of civic life online that could predict a generation's political behavior.

    Contributors Marina Umaschi Bers, Stephen Coleman, Jennifer Earl, Kirsten Foot, Peter Levine, Kathryn C. Montgomery, Kate Raynes-Goldie, Howard Rheingold, Allen Schussman, Luke Walker, Michael Xenos

    • Hardcover $7.75 £6.95
    • Paperback $4.75 £3.99
  • Acting with Technology

    Acting with Technology

    Activity Theory and Interaction Design

    Victor Kaptelinin and Bonnie A. Nardi

    A systematic presentation of activity theory, its application to interaction design, and an argument for the development of activity theory as a basis for understanding how people interact with technology.

    Activity theory holds that the human mind is the product of our interaction with people and artifacts in the context of everyday activity. Acting with Technology makes the case for activity theory as a basis for understanding our relationship with technology. Victor Kaptelinin and Bonnie Nardi describe activity theory's principles, history, relationship to other theoretical approaches, and application to the analysis and design of technologies. The book provides the first systematic entry-level introduction to the major principles of activity theory. It describes the accumulating body of work in interaction design informed by activity theory, drawing on work from an international community of scholars and designers. Kaptelinin and Nardi examine the notion of the object of activity, describe its use in an empirical study, and discuss key debates in the development of activity theory. Finally, they outline current and future issues in activity theory, providing a comparative analysis of the theory and its leading theoretical competitors within interaction design: distributed cognition, actor-network theory, and phenomenologically inspired approaches.

    • Hardcover $8.75 £7.95
    • Paperback $25.00 £20.00
  • Group Cognition

    Group Cognition

    Computer Support for Building Collaborative Knowledge

    Gerry Stahl

    Exploring the software design, social practices, and collaboration theory that would be needed to support group cognition; collective knowledge that is constructed by small groups online.

    Innovative uses of global and local networks of linked computers make new ways of collaborative working, learning, and acting possible. In Group Cognition Gerry Stahl explores the technological and social reconfigurations that are needed to achieve computer-supported collaborative knowledge building—group cognition that transcends the limits of individual cognition. Computers can provide active media for social group cognition where ideas grow through the interactions within groups of people; software functionality can manage group discourse that results in shared understandings, new meanings, and collaborative learning. Stahl offers software design prototypes, analyzes empirical instances of collaboration, and elaborates a theory of collaboration that takes the group, rather than the individual, as the unit of analysis.

    Stahl's design studies concentrate on mechanisms to support group formation, multiple interpretive perspectives, and the negotiation of group knowledge in applications as varied as collaborative curriculum development by teachers, writing summaries by students, and designing space voyages by NASA engineers. His empirical analysis shows how, in small-group collaborations, the group constructs intersubjective knowledge that emerges from and appears in the discourse itself. This discovery of group meaning becomes the springboard for Stahl's outline of a social theory of collaborative knowing. Stahl also discusses such related issues as the distinction between meaning making at the group level and interpretation at the individual level, appropriate research methodology, philosophical directions for group cognition theory, and suggestions for further empirical work.

    • Hardcover $10.75 £8.99
  • The Semiotic Engineering of Human-Computer Interaction

    The Semiotic Engineering of Human-Computer Interaction

    Clarisse Sieckenius de Souza

    A theory of HCI that uses concepts from semiotics and computer science to focus on the communication between designers and users during interaction.

    In The Semiotic Engineering of Human-Computer Interaction, Clarisse Sieckenius de Souza proposes an account of HCI that draws on concepts from semiotics and computer science to investigate the relationship between user and designer. Semiotics is the study of signs, and the essence of semiotic engineering is the communication between designers and users at interaction time; designers must somehow be present in the interface to tell users how to use the signs that make up a system or program. This approach, which builds on—but goes further than—the currently dominant user-centered approach, allows designers to communicate their overall vision and therefore helps users understand designs—rather than simply which icon to click.

    According to de Souza's account, both designers and users are interlocutors in an overall communication process that takes place through an interface of words, graphics, and behavior. Designers must tell users what they mean by the artifact they have created, and users must understand and respond to what they are being told. By coupling semiotic theory and engineering, de Souza's approach to HCI design encompasses the principles, the materials, the processes, and the possibilities for producing meaningful interactive computer system discourse and achieves a broader perspective than cognitive, ethnographic, or ergonomic approaches.

    De Souza begins with a theoretical overview and detailed exposition of the semiotic engineering account of HCI. She then shows how this approach can be applied specifically to HCI evaluation and design of online help systems, customization and end-user programming, and multiuser applications. Finally, she reflects on the potential and opportunities for research in semiotic engineering.

    • Hardcover $45.00 £31.95
    • Paperback $41.00 £32.00
  • Activity-Centered Design

    Activity-Centered Design

    An Ecological Approach to Designing Smart Tools and Usable Systems

    Geraldine Gay and Helene Hembrooke

    An examination of the shift to context-based human-computer interaction design practice, illuminated by the concepts of Activity Theory and related methods.

    The shift in the practice of human-computer interaction (HCI) Design from user-centered to context-based design marks a significant change in focus. With context-based design, designers start not with a preconceived idea of what users should do, but with an understanding of what users actually do. Context-based design focuses on the situation in which the technology will be used—the activities relating to it and their social contexts. Designers must also realize that introduction of the technology itself changes the situation; in order to design workable systems, the design process must become flexible and adaptive. In Activity-Centered Design, Geri Gay and Helene Hembrooke argue that it is time to develop new models for HCI design that support not only research and development but also investigations into the context and motivation of user behavior.Gay and Hembrooke examine the ongoing interaction of computer systems use, design practice, and design evaluation, using the concepts of activity theory and related methods as a theoretical framework. Among the topics they discuss are the reciprocal relationship between the tool and the task, how activities shape the requirements of particular tools and how the application of the tools begins to reshape the activity; differing needs and expectations of participants when new technology is introduced, examining in particular the integration of wireless handheld devices into museums and learning environments; and the effect of the layout of the computing space on movement, function, and social interaction. Gay and Hembrooke then apply their findings on the use of technology in everyday contexts to inform future HCI design practice.

    • Hardcover $8.75 £6.99
  • Tracing Genres through Organizations

    Tracing Genres through Organizations

    A Sociocultural Approach to Information Design

    Clay Spinuzzi

    A sociocultural study of workers' ad hoc genre innovations and their significance for information design.

    In Tracing Genres through Organizations, Clay Spinuzzi examines the everyday improvisations by workers who deal with designed information and shows how understanding this impromptu creation can improve information design. He argues that the traditional user-centered approach to design does not take into consideration the unofficial genres that spring up as workers write notes, jot down ideas, and read aloud from an officially designed text. These often ephemeral innovations in information design are vital components in a genre ecology (the complex of artifacts mediating a given activity). When these innovations are recognized for what they are, they can be traced and their evolution as solutions to recurrent design problems can be studied. Spinuzzi proposes a sociocultural method for studying these improvised innovations that draws on genre theory (which provides the unit of analysis, the genre) and activity theory (which provides a theory of mediation and a way to study the different levels of activity in an organization).

    After defining terms and describing the method of genre tracing, the book shows the methodology at work in four interrelated studies of traffic workers in Iowa and their use of a database of traffic accidents. These workers developed an ingenious array of ad hoc innovations to make the database better serve their needs. Spinuzzi argues that these inspired improvisations by workers can tell us a great deal about how designed information fails or succeeds in meeting workers' needs. He concludes by considering how the insights reached in studying genre innovation can guide information design itself.

    • Hardcover $40.00 £27.95
    • Paperback $26.00 £20.00