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InfoMateriality

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The first presentation about my current British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship project, 'Understanding Digital Events'

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InfoMateriality

  1. 1. INFOMATERIALITY: BERGSON, WHITEHEAD AND DIGITAL EXPERIENCE AMONGST THE OVER 65S AND THE UNDER 25S Photo: Northumberland National Park, NE England
  2. 2. PROJECT • British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship : 1.1.18 - 31.12.18 • “Understanding Digital Events: A philosophical and sociological study of virtual experience in the everyday” A. Sociological research B. Colloquium - essay collection C. Monograph • www.concrescence.org.uk/
  3. 3. SOCIOLOGICAL RESEARCH • Spring 2018 • Four week Diary studies, three entries per week - using a bespoke app - Six ‘research cases’: 1. Silver Surfers: digitally literate over 65s who are engaged with several digital devices on a day- to-day basis and confident in their use 2. Senior Explorers: over 65s with the means to engage who are gaining experience in paying bills, talking to their grandchildren on Skype, getting recipes off the web, etc 3. Senior Leapers: over 65s attempting to cross the digital divide, acquiring the means to do so and learning the skills to engage 4. Digital Young Professionals: student 18-25s doing IT/IS related courses at University, immersed in and training to become professionals in the digital economy 5. Digital Natives: student 18-25s doing non-IT related courses at University, using learning technologies and social media on a day-to-day basis as part of their studies and social lives 6. Digital Naturals: non-student 18-25s whose engagement with the digital is almost entirely through their smartphone • nVivo, Grounded Theory coding and themes; RA and PI separately; then together.
  4. 4. COLLOQUIUM • June 14th 2018 MediaCityUK • Mark Coeckelbergh, University of Vienna, Austria, President of the Society for Philosophy of Technology • Malcolm Garrett, Manchester School of Art, UK, Master of the RSA’s Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry • Yasushi Hirai, Fukuoka University, Japan, Convenor, Project Bergson Japan • Chris Bush and Elizabeth Buie, SigmaUK Ltd, Delivering exceptional digital solutions and an improved user experience for all • Tina Rock, University of Dundee, UK, Lecturer in Philosophy and Whitehead scholar • Bernd Stahl, de Montfort University, UK, Director of the Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility • Output: A collection of essays - all papers to be rewritten after - as a result of - the colloquium Achnabreck, Kilmartin, Argyll & Bute, Scotland
  5. 5. MONOGRAPH • To be completed by Jan 2019 1. Introduction 2. Bergson’s key ideas 3. Whitehead’s key ideas 4. Consonances, Dissonances, and a Process Philosophy rooted in both - Bergson’s durée reélle in the ‘I’ of Whitehead’s process 5. An outline of the literature on digital events and experience, and why the proposed Bergson- Whitehead framework might offer a better understanding. 6. Findings and Theory from the sociological study, compared to this process philosophy 7. Conclusion: A suggested framework for applying a process philosophy approach to digital projects, for information systems academics and practitioners Northumberland National Park, NE England
  6. 6. BERGSON • intuition philosophique • gestalt apprehension, ultra- empiricism • durée reélle • real duration, choice, irreversibility • élan vital • tendency, impetus - complex entropic self-organisation Northumberland National Park, NE England Henri Bergson 1859-1941 French Philosopher
  7. 7. WHITEHEAD • Non-bifurcated concept of nature - blurring the subject/object divide • Fallacy of misplaced concreteness / abstractions • Process of concrescence of Actual Occasions into Objective Data Achnabreck, Kilmartin, Argyll & Bute, Scotland Alfred North Whitehead 1861-1947 British Mathematician and Philosopher
  8. 8. CONCRESCENCE • For Whitehead, an ‘object’ is not ‘senseless, valueless, purposeless.’ • The physical, and conceptual (mental) feelings, for Whitehead, always go together, forming two poles within every entity. • The physical or conceptual may be of more or less significance in each Actual Occasion, but both are always there. It is their integration, different every time, which makes up what Whitehead calls ‘concrescence’ – the process by which an Actual Occasion, or ‘event’, comes to be, becomes, and passes. • When the event is over, the Actual Occasion is ‘satisfied,’ or finished, and, ceasing to be an Actual Occasion any more, it becomes an Objective Datum: it is in the past, now, and can be studied • But once it is an Objective Datum, it is immediately available for the concrescence of new Actual Occasions. • Thus, everything is related to everything, for each Actual Occasion must build up a relation, through concrescence, with all the Objective Data in its world. The succession of Actual Occasions makes up time, or the process of duration, as we know and experience it.
  9. 9. INFOMATERIALITY • Bergson’s durée reélle in the ‘I’ of Whitehead’s process - for the digital age • People / computer hardware • Physical bodies, fingers, eyes - all ‘hardware’ like cabling, circuit boards and haptic interfaces • Social practices, power relations, embedded politics within IT artefacts - all such techné is fundamentally social • Bergson’s homo faber - tools to make tools • I.S. exemplary of Whitehead’s non- bifurcated view of reality • Latour references Whitehead repeatedly Northumberland National Park, NE England
  10. 10. GROUNDED THEORY • The aim of the sociological research is to generate theory that is grounded in the data (Glaser rather than Strauss) • The monograph will then compare the process philosophy approach with the theory generated from the data • Do people’s interactions with the digital express / reveal / imply the infomaterial picture that arises from Bergson and Whitehead’s ideas? • Hence the Research Assistant doing open, selective and theoretical coding separately from the PI, and then the two being combined The Ringing Stone, Isle of Tiree, Scotland
  11. 11. THANKS WWW.CONCRESCENCE.ORG.UK DR DAVID KREPS DAVID.KREPS.ORG IMAGERY: ALL PHOTOS, TAKEN BY DAVID KREPS, OF NEOLITHIC CUP & RING MARKED STONES IN THE UK - SHOWING HOW INFORMATION EMBEDDED IN MATERIALITY IS ONE OF THE EARLIEST SIGNS OF HUMAN ENGAGEMENT WITH THE ENVIRONMENT Long Meg, Penrith, NW England

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