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Human-Machine Reconfigurations: Plans and Situated Actions
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Human-Machine Reconfigurations: Plans and Situated Actions

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  37 ratings  ·  5 reviews
This 2007 book considers how agencies are currently figured at the human-machine interface, and how they might be imaginatively and materially reconfigured. Contrary to the apparent enlivening of objects promised by the sciences of the artificial, the author proposes that the rhetorics and practices of those sciences work to obscure the performative nature of both persons ...more
Paperback, 314 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by Cambridge University Press (first published September 1st 2006)
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Yeah, I'm really going to have to give this book two stars. The original text (her dissertation project, if I remember correctly) was interesting, though perhaps more aptly titled "People Struggling with Copiers." The additions had some interesting discussions but seemed pretty disjoint from the original text, so I would almost have preferred two separate books, one reprint of the original perhaps with the footnotes added and one about cyborg feminism and the interface. I'm being a bit unfair, I ...more
This book was a demanding read, but highly worthwhile. The theory that Suchman lays out in the opening chapters is useful and excellently presented; the empirical section was fascinating and helped me to concretely apply some of the design principles that I had gleaned from The Design of Everyday Things. The intersection of very different disciplines featured here was challenging and productive. And in terms of structure, I wish that all second editions were like this: the introduction and footn ...more
Jan 14, 2014 Ari added it
Weaker than expected.
Suchman's original observation was clever, but lacks good support. The additions in this new version do nothing to strengthen the original results, which is a real pity.
The book left me with the feeling that Suchman got lucky, was in the right place at the right time, and then did not really take the idea and run with it properly. This is more of a "catch the ball then get rid of it as soon as possible" book. Suchman got a clever idea, observed it (seemingly without good ob
Eric Cartier
One of the densest texts I've ever encountered. I have an entirely new understanding of how humans engage with each other and machines in the world, however. Synthesizing my ideas about Suchman's book for a paper for Dr. Doty's "Understanding and Serving Users" these next two weeks is going to be migraine-inducing work. Eeeep!!
Ugh, her style! But the portion of the book from the original edition is worthwhile.
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