New Technologies at Work: People, Screens, and Social Virtuality

New Technologies at Work: People, Screens, and Social Virtuality

New Technologies at Work: People, Screens, and Social Virtuality

New Technologies at Work: People, Screens, and Social Virtuality

Synopsis

Information and communication technologies have completely revolutionized our working practices. Career patterns, professional identities, speed of communication, time management, and mobility have been irrevocably changed in an amazingly short period. Drawing on worldwide case studies, this fascinating book explores these transformations and looks to what developments are in store for us in the future.Flexible hours, email, virtual meetings rooms, and working from home are all relatively new additions to our professional lives. The effects of these technological advances have been dramatic and far-reaching. Not only have they helped to connect organizations and institutions in developing countries to the rest of the world, but they also allow people to maintain extensive geographical networks with friends, families, and colleagues. The use of virtual reality and multimedia has had a huge impact on careers ranging from investment banking to molecular biology, and has brought fundamental changes to education and training, the generation of new ideas, and problem solving.This book investigates both the impact of information technology on working practices and, more complexly, how I.T. is bound up in social, political, and economic issues. How are power relations established and maintained through transnational networking? Can the Internet be used as a political tool to manipulate the 'masses'? In what ways has digital technology changed the aesthetics and practices of the Euro-American dance world? What initiatives have been undertaken to ensure people aren't excluded from the digital world and have they succeeded? Through answering these and many more questions, this groundbreaking book is an essential guide to the modern day world.

Excerpt

Hi Constance Hospital, Easterneuk, Scotland, porters do not use computers. Doctors and managers use computers, as do nurses, laboratory technicians and clerks; but porters, like domestics, do not. This chapter explores the ways and extent to which hospital porters might be described, nonetheless, as ‘people of the screen’. For while porters are not called upon to make use of computers as part of their work practices, computers (and other advances in information and communication technology such as mobile phones and the Internet) do still figure in individual porters’ lives.

In particular, this chapter seeks to examine the place which porters make for computers, their feelings toward them, as route to and manifestation of identities and routines beyond the hospital, its distinctions, hierarchies and rules, hi five scenarios, encountered during my employment as a hospital porter while undertaking participant-observation research, we meet computers as porters do use them: making them parts of their worlds of (i) genealogy, (ii) marketing, (iii) black-marketing, (iv) the uncivil and uncouth, and (v) thieving. Here are computer technologies as arenas of inattention within the work environment. a concluding discussion shifts the focus from the ethnography, and ends by considering whether the appropriation by the hospital porters of these new technologies represents a departure from other behaviours and attitudes of ‘personalization’ which they might manifest in the work-place.

Induction

Information and communication technologies punctuated the 75-minute induction lecture which I and five other male neophytes were given, by a portering submanager, in subtle but significant ways. Seated in silence facing ‘Pat’ in his office, we were instructed, for instance, in how the telephone was to become part . . .

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