Understanding and designing sociotechnical scenarios: a multi-theoretical approach

Alysson Prado, Cecilia Baranauskas


Technology evolution is pushing the limits of our comprehension of the world and of ourselves, blurring the boundaries between people and objects. To understand this interweaving of ubiquitous computer systems and their dynamic social relations different theoretical sources are necessary. Socially Aware Computing provides a deep understanding on how information systems emerge from and interact with the social context, whereas Actor-Network Theory represents a promising referential to explain how people and artifacts mutually actuate to render social structures. In this paper, we assess the paradigmatic compatibility of these two theories, proposing a blend that provides a single basis to enrich the understanding of complex scenarios for designers of sociallyaware technology. In the sequence, we present an application of such proposal in a real-world problem. Finally, we discuss how this approach can be further extended to model nondeterministic interactions involving people and devices in social situations.


Actor-Network Theory; Socially Aware Computing; sociotechnical networks; social software design

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