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The labour of infrastructuring: An inquiry into participatory design in the public sector
Malmö universitet, Fakulteten för kultur och samhälle (KS), Institutionen för konst, kultur och kommunikation (K3).ORCID-id: 0000-0003-2137-061X
2022 (Engelska)Doktorsavhandling, monografi (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
Abstract [en]

Every organisation, cooperation, project or social movement is quintessentially a cluster of alignments between people, places and things. Through these alignments, networks are made, and through these networks action can be made possible or be constricted. These socio-material alignments, clusters and/or networks are understood within this thesis as infrastructures, and this thesis is an inquiry into how to mobilise infrastructures. Mobilising socio-material infrastructures over time is what I refer to as infrastructuring.

Situated within the discipline of participatory design and the theoretical traditions of science and technology studies and feminist technoscience, this thesis investigates the issue of agency within the infrastructuring processes. The thesis departs from the notion that all agency is relational and made through relations. These relations may be material, power or affective. This concept poses a political imperative to those infrastructuring practitioners—the individuals who labour to create new alignments and move the infrastructure forward—to consider the marginalised voices within the infrastructure. The labour performed to do this is not, the thesis argues, a prestigious, artisan work but rather a slow, caring and repetitive maintenance labour. Informed by the theories of Hannah Arendt, this thesis differentiates between this kind of labour and work. Arendt showed work, labour and action as three interictally intertwined yet distinct notions that define ways of being in the world—ways of acting politically. The th- ree notions reinforce and complement each other; however, this thesis places particular emphasis on labour. Labour is often made invisible, feminised and undervalued, and this thesis investigates labour within the infrastructuring processes and suggests methods to illuminate and support it.

The thesis draws upon three case studies located in Malmö and Lund, Sweden. All three projects were situated within public se- ctor work and within projects that emphasised citizen engagement and dialogue. The case studies have the commonality of infrastructuring: they are present both as a subject of study and as a method for both participants and researchers. Methodologically, the Ph.D. project has been conducted through practice-based, participatory, programmatic design research, which draws together the case studies into an enquiry. Finally, this thesis proposes three ‘programmatic answers’ that address the issue of agency within the infrastructuring processes.

The first programmatic answer, feral infrastructures, re-formulates the initial worldview of the programme and articulates infra- structures as messy and unyielding to the organisers’ attempts to cate- gorise them. The boundaries of the infrastructures stretch way beyond the socio-material borders of a defined project or organisation. The thesis argues that this poses an imperative to the infrastructuring prac- titioner to become sensitised to her terrain and to develop a reflexive praxis to interact with it.

The second programmatic answer, affective infrastructuring, recognises affect as a matter of concern within the infrastructuring labour. Emotional labour and affective economies are raised here as factors that can make or break collaborative doings. This is discussed in an argument for ethics-of-care.

The third and final programmatic answer, collaborative anecdotalization, is a proposed method for interacting with the messy, af- fective terrain of infrastructures. Anecdotalization is presented here as a reciprocal practice beyond mere descriptions: holding within it the ability of defining social realities, re-telling and challenging them and furthering and re-aligning them. The notion of collaborative anecdo- talization suggests that no one actor can hold a complete overview of an infrastructure, and without collaborative descriptions, it is impos- sible to identify, understand and create those alignments that infra- structuring practitioners seek. This thesis uses anecdotes as situated, embodied accounts of empirical data. The stories re-told in this book have been selected to invite the reader into the practical work, which underpins the concepts presented above, and, in congruence with the project’s methodology, calls into consideration that any event or interaction can be viewed from multiple perspectives and tell multiple tales.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Malmö: Malmö University Press, 2022. , s. 236
Serie
Dissertation Series in New Media, Public Spheres, and Forms of Expression
Nyckelord [en]
Participatory Design, Infrastructuring, Agency, Labour, Citizenship, Feminist Technoscience, City Planning, Public Sector
Nyckelord [sv]
Deltagande design, Infrastrukturering, Medborgarskap, Feministisk Vetenskapsteori, Offentlig sektor
Nationell ämneskategori
Design
Forskningsämne
Interaktionsdesign
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-54600DOI: 10.24834/isbn.9789178773053ISBN: 978-91-7877-306-0 (tryckt)ISBN: 978-91-7877-305-3 (digital)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-54600DiVA, id: diva2:1707529
Disputation
2022-12-16, Hörsal C (NI:C0E11), Nordenskiöldsgatan 1, Malmö, 13:00 (Engelska)
Opponent
Handledare
Tillgänglig från: 2022-11-01 Skapad: 2022-10-31 Senast uppdaterad: 2023-08-24Bibliografiskt granskad

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Smedberg, Alicia

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