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Making technology public: Challenging the notion of script through an e‐health demonstration video

Brit Ross Winthereik (IT‐University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Nis Johannsen (IT‐University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Dixi Louise Strand (IT‐University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark)

Information Technology & People

ISSN: 0959-3845

Article publication date: 6 June 2008




Through an analysis of a demonstration video presenting a new national e‐health portal, this paper aims to explore the assumptions and limitations of the concept of “script” and suggests a different approach to analysing the moral order of technology design.


The paper reviews the work of authors who have written about scripts and scripting, and thereafter analyses a demonstration video with a particular user script. Based on the analysis of the video coupled with material from interviews, observation and analysis of other representations, the paper examines the transformative potential of the portal presentation for reconfiguring relationships between citizens, health care systems, and information and communication technology (ICT). The analysis is guided by Haraway's notion of diffraction.


The analysis demonstrates the particular way in which the user is scripted in an e‐health demo, as a manager of his own health and, consequently, as a good citizen. This is a kind of script that does not directly groom its user, as implied in the notion of script, but rather figures up a probable future user in order to create and manage strategic partnerships that may secure the future of the technology and organisation behind it.

Research limitations/implications

The paper extends the script metaphor beyond a limited designer‐technology‐user configuration and argues that scripts in the paraphernalia of technologies also can and should be “de‐scribed” in understanding the making of the technology and the distributed networks of actors involved.


The paper is a contribution to the discussion on inscriptions in technology and the politics of technology design. Its originality lies in the combined use of notions of script and making things public. Empirically it contributes to the discussion of transformed patient identities following in the wake of implementation and use of ICT in the health care sector.



Ross Winthereik, B., Johannsen, N. and Strand, D.L. (2008), "Making technology public: Challenging the notion of script through an e‐health demonstration video", Information Technology & People, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 116-132.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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