Publication type: Conference other
Type of review: Peer review (abstract)
Title: Acceptance work by non-humans at the development of new technologies : a reconstruction from the actor-network-theory
Authors: Scheermesser, Mandy
et. al: No
Conference details: 2021 Congress of the Swiss Sociological Association : "Social Justice in Times of Uncertainty", Geneva, Switzerland (online), 28-30 June 2021
Issue Date: 28-Jun-2021
Language: English
Subjects: Acceptability; Technologies; Actor network theory (ANT); Healthcare
Subject (DDC): 303: Social processes
Abstract: The acceptability of technologies is one of the biggest challenges in the development of new technologies. Research in the field of social sciences offers various theoretical and methodological approaches to explain acceptance, acceptability and technology adoption. Different criteria of acceptance are used, e.g. utility, ease of use, aesthetics, contextual, individual and social differences. From the perspective of the actor network theory (ANT) (Callon 1984; Latour 2005) new technologies are the result of many interconnected and heterogeneous actors. They cannot be fully understood if they are considered as isolated technical artifacts (Callon 2006). This work will examine acceptance and acceptability of technologies as network formation and not, as in conventional technology acceptance models, as adoption by individual human actors. Using the concept of translation sociology (Callon 1984, 2006), the acceptance work necessary for network formation was examined. For this purpose, a case study on the actibelt® technology ( was conducted. The actibelt® is a body tracking technology that measures physical activity of patients over a period of several days using a belt with an integrated activity sensor. The aim of this work is to reconstruct the actibelt from the perspective of ANT, with a focus on the non-humans of the actibelt-actor-network. Drawing on qualitative interviews with users (patients, health professionals) and technology developers, and ethnographic observations, this study explored the question of how non-human actors contribute to the acceptability of technologies. As a result, the (technical) actibelt®-Actor-Network and five modes of acceptance work by non-human actors and their effects on patients were identified. The different modes of acceptance work show that non-human actors, such as events, meetings, graphs and socio-technical discourses, participating in the actibelt-actor-network. Non-humans are not passive actors in the development of technology, but can enable, hinder or condition acceptability. Therefore, non-human actors play a central and constitutive role in the translation process by performing acceptance work and contributing to the stabilisation and acceptability of the actibelt®-Actor-Network.
Further description: Part of the session "Social in/justice through datadriven healthcare technologies : empirical findings of early career researchers"
Fulltext version: Published version
License (according to publishing contract): Licence according to publishing contract
Departement: School of Health Sciences
Organisational Unit: Institute of Physiotherapy (IPT)
Appears in collections:Publikationen Gesundheit

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