Volume 3(2), 2007-05, 228—247

Versions of care technology

Sampsa Hyysalo
Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
University of Helsinki
Finland

The importance of users for innovation has been increasingly emphasized in the literatures on design and management of technology. However, less attention has been given to how people shape technology-in-use. This paper first provides a review of literature on technology use in the social and cultural studies of technology. It then moves to examine empirically how a novel alarm and monitoring appliance was appropriated in the work of home-care nurses and in the everyday living of elderly people. Analysis shows that even these technically unsavvy users shaped the technology considerably by various, even if mundane, acts of adapting it materially, as well as by attributing different meanings to it. However, the paper goes on to argue that such commonplace phrasing of the findings obscures their significance and interrelations. Consequently, the final section of the paper reframes the key findings of this study using the concepts of practice, enactment, and versions of technology to reach a more adequate description.

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