The Region as a Socio-technical Accomplishment of Mobile Workers
Computer Supported Cooperative Work
Much is made of terms of such as 'mobility, technology, nomadism' in social, cultural, area and organisational studies, they are predominantly pursued through rigorous theoretical re-castings of previous definitions. CSCW approaches on the other hand have favoured investigations strongly routed in empirical detail and concerned to elucidate distributed practical activities and their relation to material artefacts, electronic or otherwise. My concern in this chapter, alongside producing an
... producing an account of interest to a CSCW audience, is to re-cast previous definitions of those terms though in an ethnomethodological manner through learning from a group of people whose everyday, ordinary task it is to mobilise themselves and their setting, to order various devices into a process of work and thereby 'do nomadism'. So to investigate my topics of interest I have spent six months shadowing a group of people who use theirs cars as an office. For brevity I have labelled this work-setting the 'mobile office'. Through doing participant-observations with these travelling workers I have also been able to describe how they accomplish through various socio-material practices certain settings that tend to be treated as pre-existing places by geographers, sociologists, organisational researchers etc. The two places that I will seek to treat as ordinary members' achievements are: regions and offices. The latter has not been a site of major concern to geographers (which is my disciplinary background) although it certainly is to researchers who study businesses, organisations, labour processes etc. The former has been a key topic for geography, anthropology and to a lesser extent sociology since their outset as professions though it has frequently tended to thin out or ignore entirely other groups of people for whom constructing adequate descriptions of a region is a key task and who may indeed do much of work of bringing about 'successful' regions that geographers etc. study post hoc.