Text ‘‘Superpowers’’: A Study of Computers in Homeless Shelters

TitleText ‘‘Superpowers’’: A Study of Computers in Homeless Shelters
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsMoser, MAnne
JournalScience, Technology & Human Values
Date Published11/2009
Publication Languageeng
AbstractThis paper presents the results of a research project to understand how a major technology adoption project is taken up in the social setting of Calgary’s three major homeless shelters. An understanding of how technology is used ‘‘on the ground’’ and how it relates to the project’s goals is the key contribution of this research. The results of interviews with clients at the homeless shelters and shelter staff provide the empirical data for an analysis of the major issues concerning the actual and intended use of this Smart Communities project. The research project is influenced by institutional ethnography, which looks at the role of texts in coordinating social relations. This article suggests that information technology could be seen as a text ‘‘superpower’’ in coordinating social relations among socially ‘‘at risk’’ people in particular. It concludes that more transparent dialogue is required on how actions are concerted by information technology.