Essay

Compare and contrast Domestication theory and social shaping of technology using one or two technological artifacts to develop your analysis

Abstract

This essay discusses the domestication theory and social shaping technology where these two theories are compared and contrasted using technological artifacts. Domestication theory does give technology a place in the lives of human beings and relevance of technology in research. The domestication theory is being discussed in the context of social shaping of technology while ensuring adoptions and critique of the theories widely. The way how people found the ways of using computers in everyday life are discussed in the domestication theory and the social shaping of technology. Through these theories, the way human being interacted with the technology and how the way of life of many individuals has been changed by technology are explained. A conclusion is provided explaining how the two theories do contribute to the future research.

Introduction

There has been growth in the relationship between the everyday life and technology where technology has been said to affect the way of life. The human-computer interactions have been increasing leading to immense effects on the reasoning and the general social set up in the society. However, considering the interactions hat have been taking place between the technological artifacts and people, there has been little attention that has been given to the social construct entailing the computer use. Domestication is said to show the role of technology in everyday life and how it has been progressively changing social interactions1. Technology use in social life has a practical, spatial and temporal place where it underlines how culture has been changing as the expression of social life. Domestication is mainly focused on media technologies and household setting where the increased interests of home technologies such as smart house led to increasing in the use of technology among households. The starting of the domestication concept can be traced within the framework of social shaping of technology. The domestication of technology entails looking for various ways of using technology domestically where this concept forms part of the progressive social shaping of technology by making the technology of great use in the social set up2.

Social shaping of technology

In accordance with the social research, studies about the impacts of technology on communities have been focused into by the researchers. There have been various implications that have resulted from the technological use. However, a `social shaping` approach is one of the tools used by the researchers to investigate about; the effects brought about by the use of technology in the societies. Additionally, technology usually holds the whole society together and therefore it should be understood as a social fabric in the societies. However, the technology is seen as the product of social material since it provides a lot of information to the people as well as organizations3. The sociologically related disciplines have come up with studies about the social context of utilizing technology in the daily life activities. The use of social shaping approach to focus on the impacts of technology use eventually crossed the boundaries of many disciplines such as the cultural studies and also the media studies. For instance, according to the Western culture, the aspect of technology is always surrounded in mystique; therefore, neglecting daily meanings included in the knowledge, as well as the practice of doing4. However, there is always a link that is common between the rejection of technological imperatives and the use and effects of technology, and this common link is usually referred to as the technological determinist accounts. This common link has suggested that technology brings about social problems which are always decisive agents in the social change.

However, technology is seen as a determiner of any social and economic relationships. The term technology embraces the physical artifacts which include the design and the configuration of the artifact. Besides, this technology usually forms part of the activities of people and thus incorporating what individuals do and also what they know. According to the history, technology does not rise without involving people who accept it as important and useful to their daily lives. On the other hand, domestication has totally challenged the viewpoint on assumptions that people have about the use of technologies. There is a difference between the dominant understanding of the technology and the domestication understanding about the aspect of technology. According to the dominant view point, technology is perceived as distinct from the social life of people. However, the ability of the technology to drastically change our lives depends on the invention of technology. Also, the technology usually determines the improvement of social structures.

According to the studies using the `social shaping` approach, have shown that technology is patterned by the availing conditions of its creation as well as its use. This approach seeks to explore the information concerning the social, economic and cultural processes which have come up as a result of technological use. The social construction of technology is one of the theories that have explained the relationship that exists between a society and the technology. This theory usually focuses on the important point known as `interpretive flexibility`. This term refers to the way in which various groups of individuals involve themselves in technology5. Moreover, various people can understand about the technology differently and also the individual users can change the meanings of technologies. However, the various social groups usually play a significant role in improving the technological artifact. These social groups share the same meaning of an artifact and therefore these artifacts can be deployed to explain a certain developmental pathway. Examples of typical groups include engineers and advertisers. Also, the social groups are not static; therefore any other newly group emerging can be easily identified using the theory of social construction of technology. Even though the social groups share a common meaning of the artifact, they can sometimes share the characteristics of another group. Through the occurrence of stabilization and closure, some of the artifacts are seen to have lesser problems6.

Technology Acceptance Model

This model is usually used to explain the behavior which is observed in the usage of the computer. Additionally, this model was made to describe the computer user behavior across a wide range of end-user technologies. This Model usually has two sets of constructs which are the user attitude and the perceived ease of use. However, the primary hypothesis is that the technology use by an individual is usually based on his or her voluntary intentions. Technology Acceptance model is said to make use of social cognition theories that can include reasoned action theory and planned behavior theory to explain the social interaction behavior with the technology7. This model is trying to have its major focus on the analytical truths leading to the creation of change in the behavior and conditions. Technology adoption ad use is taken to represent technology progress in the social interactions. The technology acceptance in many situations cannot be considered voluntarily as many individuals are being forced to adopt technology due to circumstances. For instance, some situations of achieving effectiveness and efficiency have been forcing people to accept technology as a way of keeping pace with the social trends.

Alternative view of domestication theory

This theory offers an option to the above models and is significantly giving technology a place in the daily lives of individuals8. This theory helps researchers to understand more about the use of media technology. Through the domestication theory, researchers can evaluate the meaning of the words in the media used by either producers or advertisers. Domestication is applied in finding the cross-over, where by the technologies and individuals find a method to co-exist together. In reality, an individual usually makes adjustments to the technology to fit into an individuals` life. However, the domestication theory is always concerned with the research of both time and space constraints too. Moreover, there are around four elements which are used to give a description of this system which includes appropriation and conversation among the others. Also, the moral economy plays an important role in the process of analyzing this system. In the appropriation, phase deals with how to possess the technology. Appropriation of technology is done through selling it to a household9.

Through the aspect of appropriation, a certain commodity crosses between the public and the private thus starting a new life as a domestic object. The objectification process usually expresses the tastes and styles through the new technology. Objectification, however, includes two aspects which are spatial and temporal. The phase of conversion is primarily concerned with carrying out a comparison between the household`s internal affairs and the outside world. Besides, individual users usually play a significant role in the adoption process of technology by the households. Moreover, domestication process is a practice because it always involves human agency, and also it requires effort. In the domestication theory, changes such as assessments and re-negotiation might occur as time goes by.

There are two meaningful aspects of mass media which an individual should look into. These aspects include: about the kind of responses brought to us through the media, and the other aspect is about the significance of the media technologies in the daily lives of people. However, the concept of domestication engaged the whole media environment rather than one medium. Domestication technology is, therefore, the process through which a family takes control of the technological artifacts according to their technological culture. On the other hand, household refers to the social space that strongly affects the ways in technologies are used, and the significance of technologies. The domestication theory has shown interests in embracing the engagement with the media environment that has contributed a lot to the gradual change of the human behaviors and social change. Also, the meanings of IT has been changing in public and formal life leading to transformations of the social life.

The aspect of culture in a certain family in which technologies are fitted into usually comprises of what is referred to as `moral economy.` the term moral economy simply means to explicitly analyze on how technology turned to be a part of the household`s system. The use of ICTs to carry out household activities has contributed to the change daily life of the households. The capacity of the families to incorporate technology has been increasing leading to control of the various technological artifacts. Some of these technological artifacts have been incorporated into the technological culture making them invisible within the life of a family10. The technological transformers have contributed to the social interactions by availing various media information to the families. Besides, increased incorporation of ICT in households has been changing the way of life where their social interactions have been changing with technology use in sharing information that can change relations.

Conclusion

The application of the domestication theory understanding in the socio-economic change has been taken for granted. This is because computing at the household level do involve more than just designing and communication but it has been involved in various issues that can include social interactions. Technology has seen shaping the relations of people thus contributing a lot to the changes taking place in social platforms. People are now experiencing increased interactions due to the use of social media that has been largely supported by the technological developments. The technology use has been increasing where future social interaction is likely to be further advanced considering the current technology incorporation. The social shaping of technology has contributed a lot to the social transformations that have shaped the technological culture. As a result, the increasing technology use suggests a future that will ensure increased interactions and the sharing of information.

Bibliography

Berker, Thomas, Maren Hartmann, and Yves Punie. Domestication of media and technology. McGraw-Hill Education (UK), 2005.

Geels, Frank W. «From sectoral systems of innovation to socio-technical systems: Insights about dynamics and change from sociology and institutional theory.» Research policy 33, no. 6 (2004): 897-920.

Howcroft, Debra, Nathalie Mitev, and Melanie Wilson. «What we may learn from the social shaping of technology approach.» Social theory and philosophy for information systems (2004): 329-371.

Mackay, Hughie, and Gareth Gillespie. «Extending the social shaping of technology approach: ideology and appropriation.» Social studies of science22, no. 4 (2002): 685-716.

Murdoch, Jonathan. «The spaces of actor-network theory.» Geoforum 29, no. 4 (2008): 357-374.

Pantzar, Mika. «Domestication of everyday life technology: dynamic views on the social histories of artifacts.» Design Issues 13, no. 3 (2007): 52-65.

Russell, Stewart, and Robin Williams. «Social shaping of technology: frameworks, findings and implications for policy with glossary of social shaping concepts.» Shaping technology, guiding policy: Concepts, spaces and tools (2002): 37-132.

Selwyn, Neil. «Making sense of young people, education and digital technology: The role of sociological theory.» Oxford Review of Education 38, no. 1 (2012): 81-96.

Wajcman, Judy. «Feminist theories of technology.» Cambridge journal of economics (2009): ben057.

Wilson, Melanie, and Debra Howcroft. «Re-conceptualising failure: social shaping meets IS research.» European Journal of Information Systems 11, no. 4 (2002): 236-250.

1
Berker, Thomas, Maren Hartmann, and Yves Punie. Domestication of media and technology. McGraw-Hill Education (UK), 2005.

2
Wajcman, Judy. «Feminist theories of technology.» Cambridge journal of economics (2009): ben057.

3
Selwyn, Neil. «Making sense of young people, education and digital technology: The role of sociological theory.» Oxford Review of Education 38, no. 1 (2012): 81-96.

4
Murdoch, Jonathan. «The spaces of actor-network theory.» Geoforum 29, no. 4 (2008): 357-374.

5
Wilson, Melanie, and Debra Howcroft. «Re-conceptualising failure: social shaping meets IS research.» European Journal of Information Systems 11, no. 4 (2002): 236-250.

6
Russell, Stewart, and Robin Williams. «Social shaping of technology: frameworks, findings and implications for policy with glossary of social shaping concepts.» Shaping technology, guiding policy: Concepts, spaces and tools (2002): 37-132.

7
Howcroft, Debra, Nathalie Mitev, and Melanie Wilson. «What we may learn from the social shaping of technology approach.» Social theory and philosophy for information systems (2004): 329-371.

8
Geels, Frank W. «From sectoral systems of innovation to socio-technical systems: Insights about dynamics and change from sociology and institutional theory.» Research policy 33, no. 6 (2004): 897-920.

9
Pantzar, Mika. «Domestication of everyday life technology: dynamic views on the social histories of artifacts.» Design Issues 13, no. 3 (2007): 52-65.

10
Mackay, Hughie, and Gareth Gillespie. «Extending the social shaping of technology approach: ideology and appropriation.» Social studies of science22, no. 4 (2002): 685-716.