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Users, technologies and expectations of comfort, cleanliness and convenience.

Shove, Elizabeth (2003) Users, technologies and expectations of comfort, cleanliness and convenience. Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research, 16 (2). pp. 193-207. ISSN 1351-1610

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Abstract

It is often supposed that greater user involvement will result in more sustainable, more socially inclusive designs and technologies. I take issue with this proposition on the grounds that it fails to acknowledge the prior structuring of users' expectations or the socio-technical regimes and landscapes in which specific innovations take root. In developing this position I suggest that the re-specification of normal practice is of greater environmental significance than the ecological design of appliances and products with which taken-for-granted needs are met. It is useful to show how users configure and appropriate specific technologies but it is more important to follow the construction and reproduction of middle-range 'services' such as those of comfort, cleanliness and convenience. This begs the question as to how users are configured and technological systems are appropriated at macro and meso as well as micro levels of innovation. In exploring these issues with reference to air-conditioning, showering, and frozen food, I reframe the notion of user involvement such that the relation between technology, convention and practice takes centre stage.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Politics & International Relations (Merged into PPR 2010-08-01)
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Sociology
ID Code: 24266
Deposited By: ep_ss_importer
Deposited On: 15 Feb 2010 09:56
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2014 11:26
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/24266

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