Performing users: the case of a computer-based dairy decision-support system

Vaughan Higgins

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    This article draws on the concept of 'performance' to argue for greater recognition of preexisting practices in the configuration of users. Through an Australian case study of a computer-based dairy decision-support system introduced via a two-day workshop to participating farmers, the article examines the assembling of imputed farmer users in the design of the software. It then explores how the designer and trainers attempt, through the decision-support system, to mobilize their network and align the imputed user with farmers' preexisting performances. The case study highlights that attempts to make workable on-farm the 'new' performances of users inscribed in the software are highly contingent on farmers' preexisting knowledge practices. These 'old' performances problematize the designer's and trainers' version of imputed users and contribute to partial translation of the decision-support system. A focus on performance is argued to provide a useful starting point in mapping the effects of preexisting knowledge practices on attempts to enroll users in technosocial programs.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)263-286
    Number of pages24
    JournalScience Technology and Human Values
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - May 2007


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