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Vidolov Simeon

Distributed Modes of Ordering: Posthumanist Performative Account of Distributed Work

Abstract

In this paper, I provide an overview of my research project. The phenomenon under scrutiny (i.e. Global Software Work - GSW) is presented and efforts towards dissolving some of the key problems, contradictions and confusions are introduced. The notion of ‘ordering’ (Law 1994) and the broader Actor Network Theory (ANT) sensibilities are drawn upon to sensitize and facilitate my sense-making efforts. This conceptual perspective suggests that distributed work arrangements are performative, posthumanist, emergent and fluid orderings of heterogeneities such as bodies, artefacts, metaphors, technologies, etc. By using the sensitizing power of this notion, I explore the popular discourses and their material projections in the area and manage to account for some longstanding contradictions and confusions. These sense-making efforts resonate with McLuhan’s and Benjamin’s concepts of “rear mirrorism” and “retroactive tendencies”, which illuminate the misfit between the coordinative practices and material (technological) habitus (Clark 1995). Furthermore, in following their recommendations, I explore the social-technical intertwinings implicated in the context of ICT-enabled, distributed work arrangements. In interpreting the findings of an insightful case i.e. Boeing Rocketdyne, I suggest that the social interdependencies of inter-corporeality are tightly and irreducibly interrelated with the material context and relations of power. I conclude by discussing some of the major research implications, contributions and challenges of my PhD project.

References

Clark, N. "Rear-View Mirrorshades: The Recursive Generation of the Cyberbody," in: Cyberspace, Cyberbodies, Cyberpunk: Cultures of Technological Embodiement, M. Featherstone and R. Burrows (eds.), Sage Publications Ltd., 1995.

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