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Title: Foundations for a Humanist informatics
Author: Beeson, Ian Arthur
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis consists of a selection of my papers, with a linking narrative. The aim of the narrative is to bring out the lines of inquiry in the papers more clearly. to provide foundations for a 'humanist informatics'. While the discipline of informatics has generally been geared towards technical or abstract representation, technological innovation, and technocratic control, a humanist informatics would focus instead on how information is produced and used by humans, and on how humans experience information and information technologies in their lives. The research method has been to review the papers and categorise them into four main themes, and from an initial analysis produce an outline argument consistent with the development of a humanist informatics. A more detailed treatment of a representative subset of papers then follows, and is combined with supporting but independent analyses of humanism and informatics, to produce a fuller account of the bases for a humanist informatics. Of the many available strands of humanism, the approach brought out here, combining existential and civic varieties, identifies the human being as at the same time an individual creature and a member of society. The analysis identifies some key characteristics for a humanist informatics, including these: • lnformatics must have at its centre a study of information, not as objective material, but in terms of how it is produced and used by human beings. • Suitable methodologies are needed to explore and describe people's lived experience of information and information technologies. • The processes by which information is produced and used should be discovered empirically. From a humanist perspective, experimentation and discovery are more fundamental than design, coherence is achieved through narrative and communication rather than by system design, and tactics have a larger part to play than strategies. • A humanist informatics should include study of wider and longer term issues in the production and use of information, and any generally deleterious impacts of the increasing power and reach of information technologies should be resisted. 1
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available