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Comparative heuristics from an STS perspective: inquiring "novelty" in material practice

Komparative Heuristik aus Sicht der Wissenschafts- und Technikforschung: die Suche nach "Neuheit" in materiellen Praktiken
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Stubbe, Julian

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Abstract "This article proposes reconfiguring comparison as a method for innovation studies. It explores how two objects -a media installation and a robotic hand- are configured as novel through a complexity of materialities, stories, and bodies. In focus are small-scale interactions that signify relations between technological objects and their stories. The methodological approach advanced in this article focuses on the construction of comparability, the perspective from which something is compared, and one’s own bodily involvement in co-producing situations. Through two configurative moments, rendering imagined objects and material referencing, this article delineates how the installation and the robotic hand materialise imaginaries and how they articulate stories of their difference. The proposed reconfiguration avows novelty as a concept through which continuities can be drawn, just as it acknowledges the locality of its articulation in different forms. Its perspective is local, as it is immersed in the net of materialities, stories, and bodies, while it moves on and re-arranges what is understood and what needs to be understood." (author's abstract)
Keywords method; innovation; comparative research; ethnography; media; art; robot; interaction; technology; heuristics
Classification Sociology of Science, Sociology of Technology, Research on Science and Technology; Sociology of Knowledge
Document language German
Publication Year 2015
Page/Pages p. 109-129
Journal Historical Social Research, 40 (2015) 3
Issue topic Methods of innovation research: qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method approaches
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works