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Control in design

Via Kottke comes a link to Architectures of Control in Design, a really intriguing blog about the ways that products of all sorts are designed to control their use:

The intentions may be purely commercial, socially or environmentally beneficial, or a mixture, but the implications of such architectures of control in the years ahead are likely to become significant across many fields—e.g. the operation of markets, innovation growth, freedom of individual action and consumer engagement with technology.

The first page of the site runs through a bunch of neat examples, from keyboards to supermarket layouts to park benches and web sites. Really interesting, ejoyable reading.

Green Warrior is about to Die!

Whine: I had this whole post put together last night, saved a draft, and then my server hiccupped and lost an hour’s worth of mySQL activity. So it’s gone.

The post was about an in-game protest (screenshots! Also, some narration.) by players of World of Warcraft unhappy with the responses of game administrators to some of their grievances. I wrote a bit about the symbolic power of protest and the institutionalization of protest to the extent that it’s a culturally normative activity, putting it at the top of the list of institutionalized but not institutional challenges. There are interesting consequences of this institutionalization for the power to use protest to disrupt (which is, after all, the only power insurgents may have, absent a seat at the table or a voice among powerful elites). Online, that power to disrupt has to do with the development of markets with both online and offline economic consequences for players.

I made a couple of suggestions about what online protest means to online and offline relationships, about the not-always-clear lines between the two contexts, and about the trouble that scholars of activism and collective behavior have had developing theories to explain e-movements.

But it’s gone. Damn. And while whining about something that only ever really existed in my mind seems sort of lame, well, welcome to the Power of the Internet.


About, the short version

I’m a sociologist-errant. This site is powered by Textpattern, Pair Networks and the sociological imagination. For more about me and this site, see the long version.

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