Sociomateriality-PhaseII

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  • This study examines the way members of a digital photography club for the homeless brought together members of different SES and the ways the club members used technology to add visible layers of structure and organization to the club.
  • There’s been a lot of work done on understanding the ways the homeless secure assests to satisfy their survival needs of finding food and shelter. There’s also been research on their social lives as they relate to other homeless and service employees. We were interested in exploring the routes the homeless take for holistic development. What are the types of activities they engage in when they’re not looking for work, food, and a place to sleep? To do this we conducted a nine month long ethnographic study within a digital photoraphy club. We found that leisure activities provided exposure to novel technologies like digital cameras, projectors, and types of software that they would not have otherwise used. These technologies also were tightly coupled with tertiary relationships between homeless and their non-homeless neighbors. The material and the social in our field site were constantly constituting one another in practice. We hope that this work contributes to the body of knowledge on materiality of the homeless, not just shopping cards, cardboard boxes, and blankets. Can provide ways to begin exploring ways to further integrate homeless into non-homeless communities via leisure activities.
  • Stewart B McKinney Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 We learned that while this is the federal definition of homelessness there are many organizations who ammend this to serve their local community. often time this definition is extended to include people who couch surf or multiple families residing within a single family dwelling. For that reason the defintion of homelessness isn’t that cut and dry. Even for those who fit this definition it does not provide an adequate picture of homelessness b/c it does not address the issues they face during the day, more than half of which is spent outdoors.
  • As of 2007 California had the largest homeless population in the US with 159k of the total 671k people The national alliance to end homelessness defines chronic homeless as people who have had multiple bouts of homelessness and suffer from a mental or physical disability
  • Understanding survival needs is often easier than obtaining a realistic view of the social lives of the homeless Detached from social institutions In part this is because much research has explored homeless people with severe mental illnesses. The neighborhood also plays a large part in the social lives of the homeless . We refer to these varied interactions as social inclusion. Social inclusion - going beyond these relations to include socializing with members from outside of their community (peers and service workers)
  • To undrestand the relationship between the introduction of technologies and the mixed social make up of the club we looked to sociomateriality and the mangle of practice. Sociomateriality helped me to dig deeper into how the social and the material were constituting one another in practice The mangle of practice and Pickering’s description of resistances and accommodations helped me to understand how the Club members were responding to social and technical roadblocks in their growth and development within the Club. We attempted to reveal the entabglement of the social and the material by highlighting their intrinsic relation in resistance and accommodation. We expanded on his use of these terms to add that b/c of their symmetry material agency can also be limited by the human agency. We drew on spefcific material configurations of the club to understand the resistances met.
  • Count occurs biennially.
  • Skid Row Downtown Los Angeles Garment District 52-block radius
  • Created out of tightly woven social connections that make up Skid Row - service orgs, housing associations, downtown neighborhood council Donation-based Weekly one-hour meetings, biweekly photo 101 classes in downtown (across border of skid row), photographic walkabouts, monthly art walk Non-homeless, currently homeless, recently homeless (SRO, live and work in Skid Row)
  • Participants very open to talk and share their experiences as homeless and experiences in the Club Privy to a lot of personal information
  • Dig deeper into the social make-up of the club before getting into the material foundations Not mututally exclusive, motivations evolved overtime and some members were driven by more than one of these at a time.
  • Side effect of the club since it varied in SES and motivations for membershop is that org infrastructure did not meet needs of all members. Club embedded in a culture of chaos “ you gotta realize where you at; you’re in a community of mentally ill people who are unorganized and don’t know about rational thinking and all that other stuff so they just lik chaos and this is part of that, by not having an agenda” Visible and invisble in terms of structural layers Conflict over lack of rules Social expectations constituted by the digital cameras Side efect of prexisting infrastructure of skid row Visible b/c use and access of resources is heavily monitored. Digital cameras in community inverts direction of surveillance --> unsure how to handle that Departure from social accountability b/c no requirements to get cameras; completely off the grid Renzo support technology but not socially
  • New technologies strengthened relationships and revived opinions of Club Reweave social fabric of club accommodations
  • New technologies strengthened relationships and revived opinions of Club Reweave social fabric of club accommodations
  • Useful content but poorly framed under the guise that everyone had access to configurations of materials such as a computer or laptop, an internet connection --> can take it further, library card, building access within the community, etc Resistence Frequent use of email and practice in loginning in and out. A lot of people couldn’t remember their email names and passwords b/c they created it in the club but never used it again. Don’t know they’re getting emails. special time Wednesday mornings to help people set up email addresses Accommodation Amber - non-homeless resident of downtown recognized she had resources availbel to create and print
  • Leverage material properties of the paper and its role as a tradition medium for news delivery properties of paper set the parameters for use Added structure in 4 ways, largely tied to images and textual content
  • Ability of members to be “true” photogrpahers and whether or not that was important was often questioned Give cameras for empowerment but its problematic no: they get to capture whats important to them and share that turn cameras on those who survey them Self expression Enabled tech ownership “ I really think It should just bea club of people taing photots. The imprtant thing is jut getting someone the camera nad them going out and taking photos,.I don’t need to crituqe their work, I don’t even know that they need to talk about their work” yes: undirected and therefore not realizing full potential of club and its members lack of productivity critical maens by which to make the empowerment meaningful No structure within the meeting to aid development of phot skills or enable members to share and critically discuss their photos RESISTANCE “ everyone’s sitting around waiting for something to happen, they spend all fo their time waiting, they should probably make something happen” Purpose and responsibility grounded in materiality of jpegs Learning language of digital photography brings together social realm of photography and material components of practice
  • Accomodation Allison, began bringing her laptop and projector to the club meetings biweekly. The way she spoke about the photo critiquing Purpose and responsibility grounded in materiality of jpegs Motivate responsibility, stimulate cog activity of thinking and spaeking about images Requried members to be able to extract jpegs from material artifact - comp, USB, flash memory card Most members didn’t know what jpeg meant to independtly take the first step in selecting and extracting images from their camera or other material storage device Learning language of digital photography brings together social realm of photography and material components of practice Ensemble of Artifacts exerted agency within the meetings Stimulated social activity and could not have occurred without the social part of practice
  • New technologies strengthened relationships and revived opinions of Club Reweave social fabric of club accommodations
  • Understanding survival needs is often easier than obtaining a realistic view of the social lives of the homeless Detached from social institutions In part this is because much research has explored homeless people with severe mental illnesses. The neighborhood also plays a large part in the social lives of the homeless . We refer to these varied interactions as social inclusion. Social inclusion - going beyond these relations to include socializing with members from outside of their community (peers and service workers)
  • Understanding survival needs is often easier than obtaining a realistic view of the social lives of the homeless Detached from social institutions In part this is because much research has explored homeless people with severe mental illnesses. The neighborhood also plays a large part in the social lives of the homeless . We refer to these varied interactions as social inclusion. Social inclusion - going beyond these relations to include socializing with members from outside of their community (peers and service workers)
  • Understanding survival needs is often easier than obtaining a realistic view of the social lives of the homeless Detached from social institutions In part this is because much research has explored homeless people with severe mental illnesses. The neighborhood also plays a large part in the social lives of the homeless . We refer to these varied interactions as social inclusion. Social inclusion - going beyond these relations to include socializing with members from outside of their community (peers and service workers) Entanglement of technology with social as it expanded to included additional perspectives, people, and social activities
  • Understanding survival needs is often easier than obtaining a realistic view of the social lives of the homeless Detached from social institutions In part this is because much research has explored homeless people with severe mental illnesses. The neighborhood also plays a large part in the social lives of the homeless . We refer to these varied interactions as social inclusion. Social inclusion - going beyond these relations to include socializing with members from outside of their community (peers and service workers) Entanglement of technology with social as it expanded to included additional perspectives, people, and social activities
  • Understanding survival needs is often easier than obtaining a realistic view of the social lives of the homeless Detached from social institutions In part this is because much research has explored homeless people with severe mental illnesses. The neighborhood also plays a large part in the social lives of the homeless . We refer to these varied interactions as social inclusion. Social inclusion - going beyond these relations to include socializing with members from outside of their community (peers and service workers)
  • Sociomateriality-PhaseII

    1. 1. Sociomaterial Practices of a Voluntary Homeless Organization Jahmeilah Roberson | Candidacy Talk Advancement Committee: Drs. Susan Coutin, Paul Dourish, Gloria Mark, Bonnie Nardi, Alladi Venkatesh
    2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Motivation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Understand holistic personal development of the homeless </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Findings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Leisure activities provide exposure to novel technologies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology exposure is often coupled with interactions with community outsiders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Materiality and social relations constitute one another in practice </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conclusions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contribute to knowledge of materiality of homelessness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think of ways to further integrate the homeless into broader elements of society </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Defining Homelessness <ul><li>People who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, and people with a primary nighttime residence that is </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(a) a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(b) an institution that provides temporary residence for individuals intending to be institutionalized; or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(c) a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. National Alliance to End Homelessness <ul><li>671,859 people homeless on any given night </li></ul><ul><ul><li>37 percent families </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>63 percent individuals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>18 percent chronic </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Homeless Research <ul><ul><li>Technology Use & Access </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Relation between economic status and information access [Hersberger, ‘03] </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Urban poor as unexpected users of technology [Thom-Santelli, ‘07] </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Characterize perceptions of technology among the homeless [LeDantec & Edwards, ‘08] </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use of information systems in daily lives of homeless youth [Woelfer & Hendry, ‘10] </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Lives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Removed from larger society [Snow & Anderson, ‘93] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Considered in a state of withdraw [Ropers, ‘88] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Establish and maintain intricate social networks [Rowe & Wolch, ‘90] </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Theoretical Framework <ul><ul><li>“… the social and the material are constitutively entangled in everyday life…there is no social that is not also material, and no material that is not also social” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sociomateriality [Orlikowski, ‘07] </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ ..the trajectories of emergence of human and material agency are constitutively enmeshed in practice by means of a dialectic of resistance and accommodation” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mangle of practice [Pickering, ‘93] </li></ul></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Research Site <ul><li>Los Angeles County </li></ul><ul><ul><li>73,702 homeless people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>11,442 living in shelters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>57,166 living on the street </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Research Site <ul><li>Skid Row </li></ul><ul><ul><li>13,000 - 15,000 residents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>75 percent African American </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>95 percent extremely low income </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>33 percent homeless </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3,500 chronic homeless </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. “ The underlying thing was that the spirit of the artist is inside of everyone. The digital camera was supposed to unlock that.”
    10. 10. Methods <ul><ul><li>Participant observations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>9 months </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>71 hours </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Informal conversations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Semi-structured interviews </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>25 participants </li></ul></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Member Types <ul><ul><li>Technology Driven </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ I just keep asking Larry every week, where’s my camera…my camera phone just won’t do.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Socially Driven </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ It was a great way to not only have an activity for folks to do, but also to build a group of friends.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Photography Driven </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I really wanted a community to talk about photography with.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education Driven </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Now I’m thinking about elements of my photos…I’m starting to look at things differently, to think differently.” </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. <ul><li>Organizational infrastructure: the underlying framework that enables the club to efficiently get things done. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Invisible: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tasks to support procuring meeting location, food, cameras, gallery space, photo walkabouts, transportation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Visible: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rules and accountability </li></ul></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Analog > Digital <ul><li>Camera components: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Digital materials more ephemeral </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Absence of materials effects understanding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conveys broader meanings of SES </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Photographs: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tied to material ensembles for sharing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ownership shaped by mobility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Digital materiality changes endpoint of photographic journey </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Findings
    15. 15. Organization via Technology <ul><li>Desired outcomes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Add visible layers of structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Realize contrasting, novel, and more systematic approach to Club practices </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Interpreting the introduction of technology: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Does it have the capacity to create productive interaction? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it inclusive to all members? </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. Technology: Newsletter <ul><li>Created social and material distance between members </li></ul><ul><li>False framing </li></ul>“ It just seemed - given that it is the [Photo Club] and a lot of folks in Skid Row don’t have technology, it wasn’t an appropriate medium to get the news out”
    17. 17. Technology: Newsletter <ul><li>Created a shared moment between members </li></ul><ul><li>Communication tool with upcoming events and personal updates </li></ul><ul><li>Note-taking during meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Community outreach recruitment device </li></ul>
    18. 18. Photo Critiquing <ul><li>Problematic Empowerment </li></ul><ul><li>New way of sharing photographs commanded attention </li></ul>
    19. 19. Photo Critiquing “ There’s so much potential for people to be organized, to feel responsible to the group. Like, I’m gonna bring in three jpegs, I’m gonna look at them and know what I’m gonna say about them…Just to have purpose, everybody needs purpose but this club is like the club without purposes.”
    20. 20. Conclusions
    21. 21. <ul><li>Accommodation: new approaches to the goal in the face of resistance </li></ul>Discussion Resistance : blockages on a path to a goal whereby human agency is limited by material agency Human Agent Material Agent Goal
    22. 22. Resistance (revised) : blockages on a path to a goal whereby human agency is limited by material agency Discussion Human Agent Material Agent Goal Human Agent Material Agent Goal
    23. 23. <ul><li>Visibility of structure desired across all members </li></ul><ul><li>Technology integration reflected social solidarity </li></ul><ul><li>Preexisting Photo Club practices blurred meanings of technologies </li></ul>Insights
    24. 24. <ul><li>Opportunities to explore like models </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social & technological </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Diary study to explore expansion of mobile boundaries </li></ul>Potential for Future Work
    25. 25. Thank You Collaborators: SRPC & Downtown Neighborhood Council Committee members: Susan Coutin, Paul Dourish, Gloria Mark, Bonnie Nardi, Alladi V enkatesh Our supporters: Intel PaPr@UCI NSF CORCL
    26. 26. Accommodation : new approaches to the goal in the face of resistance Discussion Human Agent Material Agent Goal Alternative Material Agent

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