Social theorists of various stripes have countered the rhetoric of immateriality in the domain of the digital by pointing to the material foundations of digital systems, including their infrastructures and the material resources necessary to produce them. I will present a materialist account of digital forms and representations themselves, and show how practices around digital information are shaped and constrained by representational considerations. These digital materialities interpose themselves into processes of encoding and acting with information. I will illustrate the approach using examples from organizational decision-making and internet protocols.

About the speakers

  • Paul Dourish

    University of California, Irvine

    Paul Dourish is Chancellor’s Professor of Informatics and Associate Dean for Research in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author, most recently, of The Stuff of Bits (MIT Press 2017). His previous books include Where the Action Is: The Foundations of Embodied Interaction and Divining a Digital Future: Mess and Mythology in Ubiquitous Computing, both published by the MIT Press.