Infrastructure as a Home for a Person: A Phenomenological Interpretation of Star and Ruhleder’s Relational View

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Publication History

Received: July 13, 2018
Revised: March 25, 2019; January 3, 2020; September 30, 2020; August 31, 2021; October 27, 2021
Accepted: November 8, 2021
Published Online as Articles in Advance: August 29, 2022
Published in Issue: September 1, 2022

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Star and Ruhleder’s (1996) influential “relational view” of infrastructure is usually understood as a relation between technologies and organizational practices. However, a significant part of Star and Ruhleder’s original proposal has been overlooked—that infrastructure becomes a home for somebody. In this paper, we give an alternative interpretation of this relational view by focusing on the relation between a person and their infrastructure, rather than on the relation between technologies and practices. We use Heidegger’s (1927/1962) phenomenology in Being and Time to theorize what such a home might entail and a novel data collection method to study infrastructuring empirically from the perspective of a person. On this basis, we offer new theoretically grounded interpretations of infrastructure and infrastructuring. Empirically, we identify two modes of infrastructuring not previously distinguished. The perspective sheds new light on a number of key themes and debates in the literature and on infrastructuring in practice.

Additional Details
Author Kai Reimers, Stefan Schellhammer, and Robert B. Johnston
Year 2022
Volume 46
Issue 3
Keywords Infrastructure, infrastructuring, Heidegger, hermeneutic circle, reflective diary, empirical case
Page Numbers 1551-1572
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