Empowering Citizen Self-documentation: Re-inventing the Diary

Kresten Bjerg
2008 Observatorio (OBS*) Journal   unpublished
The paper outlines a series of assumptions about the future of ICT in the global broadband society and presents the theoretical reasoning behind a conceptual model, posing the notions of the "oikosphere" (from greek Oikos=Home) and the "somasphere", and the formation of adequate reflexive tools as indispensable and necessary basis for any farsighted user oriented developmental agenda. It describes the background history and prolonged development of an early prototype of a reflexive tool, and
more » ... s into details concerning an instrumental innovation: Anticipated collaborative development of a global nucleus of glyphs referring to typicality's of events and phenomena pertaining to the everyday life of citizens anchored in domestic settings, -outside or inside the broadband society. It places this developmental agenda in the context of a wider vision of an upcoming free-ware information-economy, where each person has a personal laptop, and challenges the traditional role of research as conducted by professionals with the notion of Citizen Science, empowering any citizen to collect empirically validated data concerning ongoing proximal phenomena Advantages to be gained from this type of approach e.g. in learning and healthcare are explicated, and a call for collaborative cross-cultural efforts to elaborate and refine this type of instrument is made. Problem We are, as we all know, situated in a transitory historic phase, where conventional and habitual everyday life forms are undergoing spreading and accelerating transformations. In force of global waves of demanding and complicated technological and institutional innovations, citizens all over the globe are finding themselves in new uncharted situations and life conditions, for which no adequate precedence exists, Citizens increasingly find themselves in situations for which conventional tools and problem-solutions are obsolete, and where relevant tools are difficult to recognize and evaluate, pay for, learn and apply, -not to speak of: difficult to integrate with each other and with the sedimented ground of familiar solutions to everyday problems It is a safe assumption about the future of ICT that more and more citizens will be ever exposed to new demands -and new options -from technological innovations. Granted such inevitable exposure it is logical to look for ways to "empower citizens in their relationship to technology -and through this hope to increase the quality of their lives" Copyright © 2008 (Kresten Bjerg). Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial No Derivatives (bync-nd). Available at http://obs.obercom.pt. Kresten Bjerg Observatorio (OBS*) Journal, 5 (2008) 002 Theory My approach to "a human-centred point of view" (in contrast to a technology-, product-or businesscentric) builds primarily upon theoretical foundations in the psychology of personal constructs by George Kelly (1) , the works on the phenomenological and social structures of the individual life-world and the categories of relevance by Alfred Schutz (2), the theory of the self as a reflexive project by Anthony Giddens (3) the theory of reflexive learning by Philip J. Boxer (4), the notions of "the new diary" by Tristine Rainer (5) the notions of time-geographical description by Torsten Hägerstrand (6) and clarifications about the domestic ICT by Ian Miles (7) and Roger Silverstone (8) The further theoretical reasoning behind this approach is further explicated (regrettably only in Danish) in "Principia Domestica" (9) Fundamental conceptual structures My point of departure is the Kantian idea of a-priori given possibility-conditions for all experience, a) A minimum of objectively valid concepts, which have to be based upon the capacity of the subject to distinguish between what is the subject and its state and what is not its self, i.e. a distinction between subjective and objective, which again presupposes a minimum of order & regularity in the world. And b) The central importance of the fact, that the experiences of the subject are integrated by a synthesizing consciousness into a uniting biographical conscious personality A preliminary minimum of objectively valid concepts concerning the domestic a priori conditions for the situated knowing/knowledge acquisition of the habitating subject must acknowledge homes as open diurnal and annual, climatically variable biological and geographical, biographical and historic, ecological and cultural, economical and technological householding system. As subjects in homes, integrating and synthesizing our experiences, it thus follows, that our knowing must be organized in diurnal cycles: that our orientation must be diurnally organized. This means, that it in principal ways must be understood as something, which consecutively builds itself up through initial phases, as we, from awakening from sleep move through series of cognitive and material operation, toward a state of full, day clear consciousness, in the midst of our own arranged operational frames and their embedding of subjectively significant informative objects (sedimented and distributes from more or less intuitive certainty & uncertainty of their probable relevance.) Observatorio (OBS*) Journal, 5 (2008) Kresten Bjerg 003 The real is not the single objects (e.g. tools) or the single experiences (e.g. errors), but the context, within which they are understood. The real is not the objects and events occasioning the experience, but the comprehensively contextualized understanding (or misunderstanding) by the user. The order and relations of the objects in the home constitute a spatiotemporal relational system, of central