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Title: The place of affect in the design of information systems : the problem of serious gaming
Author: Pignot, Edouard
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 657X
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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Recent research in social and political theory has turned its attention towards the development of a so-called ‘ontology of lack’ in the social sciences, with a greater importance ascribed to the affective component of agency over structure (e. g. Glynos and Stavrakakis, 2010; Fotaki and Kenny, 2014; Simon and Bendelow, 1998). This thesis explores this affective turn, and it responds to the deficit of subjective and biographical explanations in the study of organizations and information systems (Thompson, 2012). In particular, the gamification phenomenon is investigated because its implications beyond the marketing hype remain vague and problematic: how can scientific, business or medical activity be designed for fun? Are we not crossing a line? Is this innocent? Many studies show that the design of technologies presides over the control of organizational practices (Braverman, 1974; Edwards, 1979; Markus, 1983; Markus and Pfeffer, 1983 etc.) but the importance of lack and affect in this process is underestimated. Through three ethnographic studies of computer game developers, I argue that we need to look at IS phenomena (adoption, diffusion, acceptance etc.) not only with economic, institutional or technical lenses, but also through the ideological and affective dimension carried by discourse. This study’s three key contributions are first (1) to borrow from the poststructuralist corpus the ‘materiality of the signifier’, a notion which highlights the inseparability of the affective and the political in how users and designers engage with technology and systems. Second, I draw (2) on the theory of hegemony to show that, in current times, the production of consent at work is no longer secured by disciplinary or coercive processes, but by the affective and ideological apparatus of gamification. Thirdly, this study exemplifies (3) the need to define the outline of a subject theory and to open a future avenue towards subject based studies as an alternative to existing practice-based studies (e. g. Nicolini, 2010) for the study of technology in organizations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HM Sociology