Steven Richardson

PhD, Department of Sociology, Queen's University (2019)

Dr. Steven Richardson
Dr. Steven Richardson

Steven Richardson obtained his PhD in Sociology from Queen's University in June 2019. Focusing on wearable technologies, his doctoral research explored how things like tinkering, problem solving, hype, communities and communications shape what wearables are and are for. With a blend of STS (Science and Technology Studies), phenomenology and reflexive ethnography, this research uncovered a broader and more inclusive approach to understanding innovation, what he terms ‘the duality of design’. The term also implicates the role of the researcher in this relation, renewing the call for more reflexivity in accounts of socio-technical ordering.

In short: when we study emerging technologies, we’re not just studying innovation communities, we are a part of that same community; we may be critical of some new technology or its surveillance implications, but that critique does not stand above, apart, or aside from that same reality. To move sociology forward, we have to move away from seeing ourselves (scholars, researchers) as merely ‘participant observers’ but rather as ‘observant participants’ – in the midst of things like everyone else. Not only does this change in perspective offer important opportunities for reconceptualizing our relationship with the technologies we use, design and study, it helps bring us closer to the technologies and innovations that (will) continue to get closer to us. Bringing something close is a condition for a renewed beginning. Following this, our quest(ioning) concerning technology can continue with a greater appreciation of the role social science can play in bringing on not just hopeful, but desirable futures.

Publications

Research Reports