Department of Information Science
House Professor-Dean, William Keeton House
“Beyond Design: The Poetics and Political Economy of Repair”
SATURDAY, APRIL 16 • 5:15p
Steven Jackson teaches and conducts research in the areas of scientific collaboration, technology policy, democratic governance, and global development. More specifically, he studies how people organize, fight, and work together around collective projects of all sorts in which technology plays a central role. He also studies how infrastructure – social and material forms foundational to other kinds of human action – gets built, stabilized, and sometimes undone. This brings him regularly into worlds of policy (especially technology, research, and development policy), organizational or institutional analysis, and occasionally into design (mostly as analyst and critic). Jackson spends much of his time doing ethnographic and sometimes historiographic research, where he studies how shifting policies, emerging technologies, and cultural innovation meet complex and historically-layered fields of practice. He thinks a lot about governance – how order is produced and maintained in complex sociotechnical systems; time – how we experience, organize, design, and work around the temporal flows and patterns that shape and define individual and collective activity in the world; and breakdown, maintenance and repair – as sites of innovation, power, and ethics in complex sociotechnical systems. At the broadest level, Jackson studies how things change and how they stay the same, in a world that is furiously doing both.