Doing Things in Relation to Machines: Studies on Online Interactivity
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
The Internet is often discussed in conjunction with various notions of interactivity. Recently, conceptualizations of a “Web 2.0″, mainly focusing on harnessing user-generated content, have grown increasingly common in both public discourse and among researchers interested in the continued growth and transformation of the Internet.
This thesis approaches the use and non-use of online interactive features by societal institutions. Specifically, the thesis focuses on online newspapers and online political actors, studying the practitioners working within those institutions and on their respective audiences. Consisting of four empirical studies, the thesis is informed theoretically by the application of conceptual tools pertaining to structuration theory. In Anthony Giddens’ original conception, structuration theory posits that social structure is recursively shaped (and possibly altered) as human agents choose to re-enact certain modalities of specific structures. By changing their uses of the rules and resources made available to them by structure, humans are given agency in relation to overarching, macro-level structures. Giddens’ writings have also been contextualized to the study of information technology use by Wanda Orlikowski, who has mostly focused on organizational research.
Combining insights from Giddens and Orlikowski, the thesis suggests that most Internet users are enacting a “structure of audiencehood”, entailing somewhat traditional consumer behavior, rather than a “structure of prosumerism”, which would entail extensive uses of the interactive features made available online. Similar traditional use patterns are discerned for practitioners. The thesis suggests that we should not be surprised at relatively low levels of use of interactive features by practitioners and audiences in these contexts. While the chosen areas of study are often surrounded by expectations and “hype” regarding the consequences of online interactivity, institutionalized news and politics can be said to represent stable structures – structures that have functioned in similar ways for extended periods of time, and, thus, are not so easily amended.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2012. , 97 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 77
National CategorySocial Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-171757ISBN: 978-91-554-8328-9OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-171757DiVA: diva2:512270
2012-05-16, Ekonomikum, Hörsal 2, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10, Uppsala, 09:15 (English)
Aakhus, Mark, Associate Professor
Ågerfalk, Pär, ProfessorHrastinski, Stefan, DocentNygren, Else, Docent
List of papers