We live in a world where social interaction is increasingly mediated by techlogical devices. In this book, Ian Hutchby explores the impact these techlogies have on our attempts to communicate. Focusing on four examples -- telephones, computerized expert systems at work, speech--based systems dealing with enquiries from the public, and multi--user spaces on the Internet -- Hutchby asks: are we increasingly techlogized conversationalists, or is techlogy increasingly conversationalized? Conversation and Techlogy draws on recent theory and empirical research in conversation analysis, ethmethodology and the social construction of techlogy. In vel contributions to each of these areas, Hutchby argues that the ways in which we interact can be profoundly shaped by techlogical media, while at the same time we ourselves are shapers of both the cultural and interactional properties of these techlogies. The book begins by examining a variety of theoretical perspectives on this issue. Hutchby offers a critical appraisal of recent sociological thinking, which has tended to over--estimate societya s influence on techlogical development. Instead he calls for a new appreciation of the relationship between human communication and techlogy. Using a range of case studies to illustrate his argument, Hutchby explores the multiplicity of ways in which techlogy affects our ordinary conversational practices. Readers in areas as diverse as sociology, communication studies, psychology, computer science and management studies will find much of interest in this account of the human and communicative properties of various forms of modern communication techlogy.
Ian Hutchby is Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Communication at Brunel University and Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University. His research involves the application of conversation analysis to various areas of technologically--mediated interaction, including the distinctive properties of broadcast talk and the possibilities of human--machine interaction; as well as the analysis of childrena s communicative competence