Trajectories, social worlds, and boundary objects

A framework for analyzing the politics of technology

Karin Garrety, Richard Badham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


Many people recognize that politics plays a central role in sociotechnical change. Despite this recognition, however, there is little discussion in the human factors literature about what the term `politics' actually means, and how it can be studied. In this article, we propose a definition of politics, based on symbolic interactionism, a sociological tradition that emphasizes the close relationship between human agency and social structures. We illustrate the use of the approach, and some of its key concepts, through a case study of a human factors intervention in the trial of an intelligent manufacturing system in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-290
Number of pages14
JournalHuman Factors and Ergonomics In Manufacturing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1999
Externally publishedYes

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