Infrastructure as a Home for a Person: A Phenomenological Interpretation of Star and Ruhleder’s Relational View
Reimers, Kai; Schellhammer, Stefan; Johnston, Robert B.
Star and Ruhleder’s (1996) influential “relational view” of infrastructure is usually understood as a relation between technologies and organizational practices. However, a significant part of Star and Ruhleder’s original proposal has been overlooked—that infrastructure becomes a home for somebody. In this paper, we give an alternative interpretation of this relational view by focusing on the relation between a person and their infrastructure, rather than on the relation between technologies and practices. We use Heidegger’s (1927/1962) phenomenology in Being and Time to theorize what such a home might entail and a novel data collection method to study infrastructuring empirically from the perspective of a person. On this basis, we offer new theoretically grounded interpretations of infrastructure and infrastructuring. Empirically, we identify two modes of infrastructuring not previously distinguished. The perspective sheds new light on a number of key themes and debates in the literature and on infrastructuring in practice.
Infrastructure; infrastructuring; Heidegger; hermeneutic circle; reflective diary; empirical case