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Performing Users: The Case of a Computer-Based Dairy Decision-Support System


Higgins, V, Performing Users: The Case of a Computer-Based Dairy Decision-Support System, Science, Technology and Human Values, 32, (3) pp. 263-286. ISSN 0162-2439 (2007) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1177/0162243906298350


This article draws on the concept of "performance" to argue for greater recognition of preexisting practices in the configuration of users. Through an Australian case study of a computer-based dairy decision-support system introduced via a two-day workshop to participating farmers, the article examines the assembling of imputed farmer users in the design of the software. It then explores how the designer and trainers attempt, through the decision-support system, to mobilize their network and align the imputed user with farmers' preexisting performances. The case study highlights that attempts to make workable on-farm the "new" performances of users inscribed in the software are highly contingent on farmers' preexisting knowledge practices. These "old" performances problematize the designer's and trainers' version of imputed users and contribute to partial translation of the decision-support system. A focus on performance is argued to provide a useful starting point in mapping the effects of preexisting knowledge practices on attempts to enroll users in technosocial programs.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:decision-support systems, dairy industry, Australia
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology and social studies of science and technology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Higgins, V (Professor Vaughan Higgins)
ID Code:138178
Year Published:2007
Web of Science® Times Cited:10
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2020-03-26
Last Modified:2020-08-31

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