Following up on the success of this workshop, the organizers are editing a special issue of the journal First Monday devoted to technology non-use. Please see the CFP and details below.

Across the numerous disciplines that investigate the relationships between humans and technology, most research focuses on technology use and technology users. User studies, usability metrics, techno-determinism, socio-determinism, user-centered design, participatory design, end user programming, user appropriation, technology adoption, diffusion of innovations, technology and development: such research overwhelmingly focuses on people using technology.

We seek to problematize this focus by turning our attention to situations in which a particular individual or group of individuals are unable or choose not to use some specific technology or technological system. Focusing explicitly on non-use can function as a dialectic maneuver, an inversion that provides a novel perspective on, and potentially fuller understanding of, the complex, multifaceted relations among society and technology. We seek to explore these relationships and their broad ramifications rather than simply to transform non-users into users. Studying non-use in its many forms can highlight sociotechnical configurations that may be overlooked due to a singular focus on technology use.

To this end, we seek submissions from a broad array of disciplines representing a diverse collection of methodological approaches to the topic of technology non-use. Studying non-use may require novel empirical investigations, methodological approaches, conceptual tools, and theoretical developments. Many and varied technologies may be relevant to consider: digital and analog, modern and ancient, computational and mechanical, popular and obscure, etc. Through this special issue, we also seek to avoid reifying a binary distinction between use and non-use. The point is not to draw ever clearer lines that help us understand what distinguishes non-use(rs) from use(rs). Rather, this special issue aims to explore the complex sociotechnical situations where various forms and degrees of non-use arise. We hope to provide a foundational repository for the topic of non-use through which scholars from many diverse fields can be in conversation with one another.

Topics for submissions might include:
– case studies of unique or notable instances of non-use
– conspicuous or performative non-use
– development, ICT4D, and the “digital imperative”
– digital divide(s) and/or disenfranchisement
– diverse reasons for or causes of non-use (or use): choice, compulsion, structural limitation, etc.
– identity management
– media and/or technology refusal
– methodological innovations for studying non-use
– organizational or institutional contexts
– partial or situational non-use
– social, political, or cultural dimensions of non-use
– surveillance avoidance
– modifications of existing theories or new theoretical contributions
– typologies, taxonomies, categories, or degrees of non-use (and/or use)
– any other topics that can be a touchstone for scholars interested in non-use

– Extended Abstracts Due – September 30
– Feedback from Editors on Abstracts – October 31
– Full Submissions Due – January 15, 2015
– Issue Appears – August 3, 2015

Authors are requested to submit an extended abstract of 400-500 words to nonuse2014[at]gmail[dot]com. Selected authors will be invited to submit a full paper for the special issue and will receive feedback to help craft final submissions.

Eric P. S. Baumer
Morgan G. Ames
Jenna Burrell
Jed R. Brubaker
Paul Dourish