Seamful Spaces: Heterogeneous Infrastructures in Interaction

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132 Scopus citations


Understanding contemporary environments in the laboratory and elsewhere requires grappling conceptually with multiple, coexisting, nonconforming infrastructures which actors engage at the same time. In this article, I develop the analytical vocabulary of "seams" for studying heterogeneous, multi-infrastructural environments. Drawing upon six years of ethnographic fieldwork with two distributed science teams, as well as studies in Ubiquitous Computing, I examine overlaps among infrastructures and how actors work creatively with and across their seams. Rather than suggesting that actors are hemmed in or incapacitated by multiple infrastructural commitments, inclusions, and exclusions, I show instead how they work artfully to align them in ways concordant with membership and how this produces both consequences for their work and opportunities for analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-284
Number of pages21
JournalScience Technology and Human Values
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Human-Computer Interaction


  • heterogeneity
  • infrastructures
  • methodologies


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