Legitimacy at the Outskirts:
Categories, Use, & Adoption
in Marginal Communities




Christopher A. Le Dantec
School of In...
Legitimacy
http://homelessness.change.org/blog/view/michelle_obama_serves_soup_nation_misses_the_point
Three Forms of Legitimacy

Legitimacy of categories

Legitimacy of use

Legitimacy of adoption
Legitimacy of Categories
Legitimacy of Use
Legitimacy of Adoption
Questions. Discussion.
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  • Legitimacy is a specific way to frame the power relations that come to bear on the homeless.

    it’s about membership --who is or is not part of a particular group. here i’m using a fairly coarse division as that between the mainstream and the marginal

    accepted behaviors --with memberships comes the kinds of things members of the group are expected to to do. what i’ve found through my interactions with the homeless and their care providers is that there’s a longer list of things the homeless are expected not to do versus the mainstream. part of this is from relying on public resources versus the freedom one has when relying on their own resources.

    accepted forms of technology --connected to these things is the idea that certain technologies are acceptable: i.e. legitimate for the homeless.

    the best way to illustrate this is with an example:
  • familiar with this?

    the upshot here is that there *are* tensions around whether or not the homeless have legitimate access to mobile phones.

    -they are a luxury

    -they enable illegitimate behaviors (drugs, sex, etc).

    -they indicate social membership to non-homeless groups.
  • This is focused on the power relations between service providers and the homeless: the kinds of services, how those services are structured and accessed.

    Has impact on how we [researchers] interact with the homeless via service providers: there’s a tension, especially in my work as i am working to integrate different kinds of information.

    how does information, categorized around service providers needs/desires/goals/philosophies match information that originates from the homeless? shelters v. sleeping rough. knowledge about safety/drugs/sex that has no place within “official” taxonomies?
  • This is about who has the right to technologies.

    Really focuses on the fact that tech. mediates lots of basic services so tech should be considered a basic service in and of it self.
  • This is the internally focused part of legitimacy and touches on the self-perception of the homeless w/r/t technology

    e.g. PC’s are not viewed as legitimate technologies but mobile phones are.

    Also points to how designs might need to be configured around perceptions of who is a legitimate user.
  • Christopher

    1. 1. Legitimacy at the Outskirts: Categories, Use, & Adoption in Marginal Communities Christopher A. Le Dantec School of Interactive Computing & College of Computing Georgia Institute of Technology
    2. 2. Legitimacy
    3. 3. http://homelessness.change.org/blog/view/michelle_obama_serves_soup_nation_misses_the_point
    4. 4. Three Forms of Legitimacy Legitimacy of categories Legitimacy of use Legitimacy of adoption
    5. 5. Legitimacy of Categories
    6. 6. Legitimacy of Use
    7. 7. Legitimacy of Adoption
    8. 8. Questions. Discussion.
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