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ERIC Number: ED532092
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 340
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1095-0115-5
Mobilizing Practice: Engaging Space, Technology and Design from a Thai Metropolis
Williams, Amanda Marisa
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Irvine
The project of ubiquitous computing aims to embed computation into everyday spaces. As a practice that is heavily concerned with space and place, its stance towards mobility is sometimes conflicted--treating mobility by turns as a disruption or as an opportunity--and almost always conceiving of it as free and empowered. Conducted in industrial and academic research settings in places like Seattle, the San Francisco Bay Area, London, or Atlanta, ubicomp research tends to deal with the settings and mobilities that its usually upper-middle-class researchers actually encounter: the commute to work, the nuclear family's stand-alone home, a walk through a city center. Our fundamental understandings and expectations of space and mobility in everyday life, though seldom articulated, profoundly influence our system designs. Based on a year of ethnographic field-work focusing on spatial and mobile practice in and around Bangkok, Thailand, I propose some alternative visions of mobility and production of space. The anchored mobilities of transnational retirees, traveling from node to node in an international network, challenge the primacy of the often-invoked figure of the anywhere, anytime, technologically enabled nomad. The artistry of stability work in an always-mobile slum drives home the point that the stability of a place or a social configuration is not static, but requires work. The embodied and symbolic experiences of quotidian journeys through Bangkok are demonstrably more than just the useless intervals between point A and point B. These practices, while enabled and mediated by information technologies, call into question some of the assumptions we make about place and mobility, and provoke us rethink what technological interactions we might design and how we can design them. While these ethnographic engagements foreground certain ways in which mobilities might construct spaces, highlighting patterns of oscillation, porousness and infrastructural positionality, they also provide other implications for ubicomp research methodologies. Experiences in the field prompt considerations about the relationship between design and ethnography, and the role of critical and reflective consideration of subjects and field sites in a mobile world. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Thailand; Thailand (Bangkok)