Beyond interpretivism but where?

What comes after interpretivism, dichotomisation of the social and technological, is sociomaterialism, ANT, activity theory, or something else the answer to the theoretical headache of trying to figure out what happens out there with different types of things, independent of them being something or non-something, or attempting to hold back the lure of making dichotomies, merely something. These questions were some of themes that were discussed at the working conference of IFIP WG 8.2. organised at the UCD Business School in Dublin this weekend. The conference had gathered a highly interesting group of younger and more established scholars of  social aspects of technology from the keynotes Karin Knorr Cetina and Tim Ingold to organisers Lucas Introna (Lancaster), Donncha Kavanagh (UCD), Séamas Kelly (UCD), Wanda Orlikowski (MIT) and Susan Scott (LSE) and a sizeable group of people from information systems science to science and technology studies, social studies of technology, management, organisation studies, sociology, and as in my case, information studies.

It is obviously difficult to say something general of any conference but probably Tim Ingold’s notion of “walking with” and how Lucas Introna elaborated the idea to stress the importance of walking with theories, methods, technologies does crystallise something essential of the conference and the discussions. Without any doubt, there is much interesting on-going work on sociomateriality, social and materiality, affordances, performativity and the philosophy of becoming among a number of other things. I did myself present some preliminary ideas on the impact of digitality on archaeologists’ information work, “walking with” the work of Isabelle Stengers, and got a lot more to think about not only on that particular exercise but on many other issues as well.