Emphasizing technology: socio‐technical implications

Elisabeth Berg (Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden)
Christina Mörtberg (Department of Informatics, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway)
Maria Jansson (Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden)

Information Technology & People

ISSN: 0959-3845

Publication date: 1 December 2005



This article aims to focus attention on users of information technology (IT), especially mobile telephony. It focuses on what people actually say about mobile technology but also aims to pay attention to what they do not talk about, what is found in the silence, especially with new technology when much can be taken for granted. This latter is, according to Foucault, even more important to understand.


The research draws on empirical research through 11 semi‐structured interviews and interviews with five focus groups, comprising between four and eight care assistants in each group. The interviews were with three women and three men between 25‐70 years old, five female public sector middle managers and care assistants from five focus groups at social services departments in the north of Sweden. A Foucauldian approach is adopted to interpret the findings and explore how their locations within the circuits of socio‐technical networks engender uncertainty with mobile technology. The present spread of IT reinforces a belief that people are integrated into the circuits of socio‐technical networks.


The findings suggest, on the one hand, that new technologies like mobile communication can be used to organise our everyday lives, whilst, on the other, there are risks with the new technologies, which can discipline discourses.


These issues are discussed from a sociological and informatics perspective.



Berg, E., Mörtberg, C. and Jansson, M. (2005), "Emphasizing technology: socio‐technical implications", Information Technology & People, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 343-358. https://doi.org/10.1108/09593840510633310

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