Friday, September 23, 2005

Eva Cox and Social Capital

I attended a seminar yesterday on 'Reclaiming Social Capital' at the CCR with Eva Cox. Eva is one of Australia's well known feminist and political scholars. I really enjoyed her presentation and sent her a follow up email to ask if I could obtain a copy of her paper to read more closely. I became interested in her ideas about social capital in relation to technology as I listened to her talk. My PhD is concerned with the relationships people form with their personal technologies in the workplace; how people respond to problems, the role of the "personal workspace" (including technological spaces) in workplace culture particularly in relation to the office environment, and shifts that come about with technologies that support more mobile modes of work.

I think the analytical space of social capital could be
extended to include how humans relate to technology and how the organisation of technologies implicates humans. Technologies and their organisation are involved in the states of trust and belonging that work to bind and support the group as an organisation. One of my observations working in IT was how perplexing it was that organisations that had 'low' social capital expressed this, in often unexpeced ways, through their IT system. For example, the lower the state of trust within the organisation, the tighter the security and the less control individuals had of their IT. I haven't seen the concept of social capital extended to the socio-technical domain. I wonder if it has been. Oh where are you my google...

No comments: