Understanding, Studying, and Supporting Appropriation
In the context of socio-informatics, the term “appropriation”—derived from the verb “to appropriate,” using the definition “to set apart for or assign to a particular purpose or use”—refers to the establishing of new social practices in the light of new technologies. So, roughly speaking, appropriation is closely related with change, although in everyday life such transformations may be slow, unnoticed, quiet, and evolutionary. The concept of appropriation has a long and varied history and can be traced through its roots in German idealism to Marxism and more recent conceptions such as activity theory. This chapter examines the relevance of this concept to problems around the design space, notably those to do with who does design and at what point. The main focus of the chapter is to understand how various commitments to participation, end-user development, tailorability, and infrastructuring are dependent on the concept of appropriation.
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