Development of infrastructure studies (S.L. Star, G. Bowker, B. Larkin)

The article provides an overview of the ideas of leading authors, whose works develop one of the directions in modern technology research. The readers see the range of concepts through which it is possible to theorize technical infrastructures sociologically, for example, electrical networks, transport communications, information databases and Internet platforms. The interactionist approach of S. L. Star explains the relational nature of infrastructures. G. Bowker calls to think about the hyper-functionality of infrastructures, that is, the property that supports the human self and even egocentrism. Starting from the concept of techno-policy, B. Larkin focuses on the poetic function of infrastructures as a component of the political regime. As an emerging area, acquaintance with social research of infrastructures is interesting for everyone who studies digitalization trends.

For citation: Sergeyeva O.V. Development of infrastructure studies (S.L. Star, G. Bowker, B. Larkin). St. Petersburg Sociology Today. 2021. N. 15. P. 54-70. DOI:10.25990/socinstras.pss-15.zmej-c395

  • Bardzell J., Bardzell S. Humanistic HCI. Synthesis Lectures on Human-Centered Informatics. San Rafael, CA, Morgan Claypool, 2015, 185 р.
  • Bennett J. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Durham, NC, Duke Univ. Press, 2010, 200 р.
  • Bijker W., Hughes T. P., Pinch T. The Social Construction of Technological Systems. Cambridge, MA, The MIT Press, 1987, 417 р.
  • Bowker G. C. Science on the run: Information management and industrial geophysics at Schlumberger, 1920-1940. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 1994, 200 р.
  • Bowker G. C., Star S. L. Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 1999, 377 p.
  • Davies L., Mitchell G. The Dual Nature of the Impact of IT on Organizational Transformations. Transforming Organizations with Information Technology. Ed. by R. Baskerville, O. Ngwenyama, S. Smithson, J. DeGross. North Holland, Amsterdam, 1994, pp. 243-261.
  • Edwards P. N., Bowker G. C., Jackson S. J. et al. Introduction: an agenda for infrastructure studies. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 2009, 10 (5), pp. 364-374.
  • Graham S., Marvin S. Splintering Urbanism: Networked Infrastructures, Technological Mobilities and the Urban Condition. London, New York, Routledge, 2001, 512 p.
  • Harrison S., Tatar D., Sengers P. The three paradigms of HCI. Alt. Chi. Session at the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems San Jose, California, USA, 2007, pp. 1-18.
  • Harvey P. The topological quality of infrastructural relation: an ethnographic approach. Theory, Culture & Society, 2012, vol. 29, no. 4-5, pp. 76-92.
  • Hughes T. P. Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880-1930. Baltimore, MD, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983, 474 p.
  • Jakobson R. O. Lingvistika i pojetika [Linguistics and poetics]. Strukturalizm: “za” i “protiv” [Structuralism: “pros” and “cons”]. Moscow, Progress, 1975, pp. 193-230. (In Russian)
  • Kouznetzov A. G. Simvolicheskij interakcionizm i aktorno-setevaja teorija: tochki peresechenija, puti rashozhdenija i zona obmena [Symbolic interactionism and actor-network theory: crossing points, divergences and “trading zones”]. Sociologija vlasti, 2014, no. 1, pp. 64-74. (In Russian)
  • Larkin B. The Politics and Poetics of Infrastructure. Annual Review of Anthropology, 2013, vol. 42, pp. 327-343.
  • Masquelier A. Road mythographies: space, mobility, and the historical imagination in postcolonial Niger. American Ethnologist, 2002, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 829-856.
  • Mbembe A. On the Postcolony. Berkeley, Univ. Calif. Press, 2001, 288 p.
  • Orlikowski W. Integrated Information Environment or Matrix of Control? The Contradictory Implications of Information Technology. Accounting, Management and Information Technology, 1991, no. 1, pp. 9-42.
  • Ribes D., Finholt T. A. The long now of technology infrastructure: articulating tensions in development. Journal of the Association for Information Systems. 2009, 10, pp. 375-398.
  • Seberger J. S., Bowker G. C. Humanistic infrastructure studies: hyper-functionality and the experience of the absurd. Information, Communication & Society. 2020, vol. 23. DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2020.1726985.
  • Star L., Ruhleder K. Steps Toward an Ecology of Infrastructure: Design and Access for Large Information Spaces. Information Systems Research, 1996, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 111-134.
  • Star S. L. The structure of ill-structured solutions: Heterogeneous problem-solving, boundary objects and distributed artificial intelligence. Proceedings of the 8th AAAI Workshop on Distributed Artificial Intelligence, Technical Report, Department of Computer Science, University of Southern California, 1988, pp. 37-54.
  • Zemnukhova L. V., Rudenko N. I., Sivkov D. Ju. Cifrovye gorodskie issledovanija: Problemy vzaimodejstvija i patterny koordinacii [Digital urban studies: collaboration problems with patterns of coordination]. Sociologicheskoe obozrenie, 2019, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 107-129. (In Russian)