Rogerson, S. (2014), "Introduction to the invited paper by Ellen Christiansen", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 12 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/JICES-12-2013-0057Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Introduction to the invited paper by Ellen Christiansen
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Volume 12, Issue 1
Keywords: Participation, Ethics, Systems design
This is the first issue of volume 12 of the Journal of Information, Communications and Ethics in Society. It heralds a new venture for the journal. We have decided that periodically we will invite a leading scholar to write a paper on a particular topic. This paper will be subject to responses from other leading scholars working in the same area. The hope is to provide an interdisciplinary perspective on an important issue which will be of interest to the readership and inspire some to submit further papers relevant to this discourse. In this way we aim to stimulate further cross-discipline dialogue.
The first invited paper is “From ‘ethics of the eye’ to ‘ethics of the hand’ by collaborative prototyping by Ellen Christiansen. She is professor of participatory design within the Department of Communication and Psychology at Aalborg University in Denmark. Since 1985, she has studied design and implementation of digital technologies in professional work settings from a learning perspective. In recent years her empirical research has concentrated on sustainable design and end-user innovation in the home. It is this background which is clearly evident in the paper. Christiansen urges those involved in the development and delivery of technological products and services to engage in rich dialogue and experimentation which embraces an ethical perspective. It is the concept of practice which underpins participatory design and it is the concept of ethics which underpins acceptable practice and outcome. In the early days of software development there was a sense of “quality control of the eye rather than “quality control of the hand (using Christiansens analogy). Today quality control is embedded within software development processes – it is no longer a contentious idea that it must be “of the hand. Indeed, today all software engineers would openly scoff at the suggestion of software development without quality control. How long will it be before all software engineers openly scoff at the suggestion of software development without ethics?
The invited paper is accompanied by responses from three different perspectives. Bernd Carsten Stahl suggests that Christiansens proposition, whilst appropriate, is part of a wider landscape of approaches, which in the round, will move us towards acceptable design and development. He discusses this landscape in some detail. Chuck Huff argues that reflective ethical dialogue is at the centre of Christiansens message. He supports this widening of activity in the development process. Finally, Anne Gerdes looks closely at Christiansens suggested approach. She argues that whilst the motive is sound there needs to be a much fuller explanation of what needs to be done in practice backed by a clear conceptual justification.
Together the invited paper and three responses offer a rich area of research which has the potential to improve the manner in which systems are designed and developed. If you have further ideas relating to the issues raised we would be delighted to receive a paper from you for publication subject to the standard review.