Hi welcome to my talk: Within this talk I plan to cover three topics that the CHI community is showing increasing interest in: 1.The first Understanding technology use in low-income countries 2. The Second Understanding “techno-spiritual practices” or how information and communication technologies are used to support religious individual’s faith 3. And finally Within the CHI community there remains interest in understanding how the creative design process can contribute to HCI research To address all of these I will report design oriented fieldwork I -with the help of Paul Aoki from Intel Research- conducted in Nairobi, Kenya, last summer. During my time I examined how evangelical Christian’s faith impacted their technology and to use those finding to inform and inspire concepts for new technologies.
Re-Placing Faith: Reconsidering the Secular-Religious Use Divide in the United States and Kenya Susan P. Wyche, Paul M. Aoki, and Rebecca E. Grinter CHI 08 April 7, 2008
What does it mean for the HCI community to engage with this agenda?
Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life (2006), Spirit and Power: A 10-Country Survey of Pentecostals . Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. 33 Attend church more than once a week 80 Attend church at least once a week 56 Identify as Pentecostal 90 Identify as Christian Kenya % of all respondents who. . .
The corpus on which our findings are based includes 35 transcribed interviews, 70 pages of fieldnotes and over 1000 photographs. Standard techniques for extracting analytic points, thematic clustering, and intermediate memo-writing were used in the course of the analysis. We also made use of design sketching in our analysis.
Mindfulness, or a person becoming aware of their thoughts and actions in the present moment, is an important element in many religious faiths. Whether it was using a plaque on the wall, receiving Bible verses via SMS, or studying a ledger filled with notes, it was clear that participants used technologies that have typically been associated with secular practice for more than strictly religious purposes.
Mindfulness: Religion and the appropriation of mundane technology
Are issues of mindfulness so specific to the religious use case that an entirely new systems would be required? Can current technology be extended in relatively straightforward ways that would make them suitable for religious appropriation? Technologies designed to support mindfulness must strive to preserve “ inner stillness” that defines a worship environment.
Many aspects of Kenyan society appear to be strongly oriented towards community norms. For example security. Faith-based decisions play a role in determining whether, and if so how, some people will decide to appropriate media and content.
Watchfullness: An encounter with defamiliarization
When things like wrestling come on [the children] know to switch-off and monitor themselves, they switch off by themselves because we have taught them this thing is not right. They will not watch, they will switch off the TV.They know that. – Nairobi churchgoer
We are grateful to our participants for letting us into their homes and sharing personal aspects of their lives. Thank you to Dr. Steven Kimani and our collaborators at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. Thank you to Paul Aoki and Beki Grinter. Thank you to the anonymous reviewers. Continued thanks to Genevieve Bell for inspiring this work.
Given the present and future distribution of Christians worldwide, a case can be made that understanding that understanding the religion in its non-Western context is a prime necessity for anyone seeking to understand the emerging world. – The Next Christendom, Philip Jenkins
Kenya represents a kind of “developing world” Christianity. suggests, and faith (and particularly renewalist Christianity) has a remarkable strength and pervasive presence in Kenyan public life.