exploring the relationship between social science and software development methodologies: a blog by Pascal Belouin

Although a polemical subject, the application of the concept of closed systems in the social sciences has been seen as a way to limit and even rule out the influence of certain variables in the study of social objects, which in turns seems to allow the elicitation of clear-cut causal relationships. Those causal relationships can [...]

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§261 · April 13, 2010 · Theory · (No comments) · Tags: , , , ,


In recent years, ‘software developers’ have traveled quite a distance in public imagination, from spotty-faced sociopathic nerds to geek chic alpha males. Some may want my head on a spike for such an appalling short cut, but one could argue that this change in the way software engineers are represented in cultural discourse may be [...]

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How can we sum up what we do? what are these systems we design? Below is a somewhat simplistic and schematic view of the problem, which may have some merits in that it provides a framework within which we can start to tackle the particular issues of our beloved discipline in a ‘formal’ manner! I’ve [...]

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By introducing the idea of a fragmented, constantly ‘failing’ subject, Lacan directly challenged the essentialist concept of a ‘stable identity’, or ‘constant ego’ as commonly accepted since Descartes’ Cogito. Indeed, according to Lacan, biological sexual differences between individuals could be viewed as the ‘paradigmatic difference’ at the origin of the formation of the subject ‘from [...]

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§145 · March 17, 2010 · Theory · (No comments) · Tags: , , , , , ,


‘Because emergence is the foundation of our approach to theory building, a researcher cannot enter an investigation with a list of preconceived concepts, a guiding theoretical framework, or a well though out design’ (Strauss and Corbin, 1998, p. 34). Although this citation from Strauss and Corbin could make sense in the context of a practical, [...]

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§140 · March 17, 2010 · Practice, Theory · 1 comment · Tags: , , , , ,


What has been, in occidental culture, consensually defined as ‘the subject’, or ‘the self’, and seen as a natural, self-evident and indivisible part of the identity of human beings could be approached and understood as a historically constituted phenomenon, whose apparition and development could be investigated through an exploration of the various techniques and practices [...]

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I’ve been browsing the internet for a little while to see if anybody used Bourdieu’s notion of social capital as a framework for the analysis of social software such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn (the latter being particularly representative). I apologise in advance to purists that may think that I oversimplify Bourdieu, but it seems [...]

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Conversation analysis, or CA, focuses on the fine-grain analysis of talk in the framework of actual, day-to-day conversations between social actors. Its aim is to provide practical tools for allowing an understanding of the tacit rules and inherent order of common, day-to-day conversations by using short transcripts or recordings as data. This discourse analysis tradition [...]

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Overview of the Proposed Research Topic During the relatively short history of software development, several development methods have been introduced, from the rather standard waterfall model derived from development methods that can be found in more ‘traditional’ industries (Royce, 1970), to solutions more adapted to the particular issues involved in software development such as user-centered [...]

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Abstract It could be argued that discourse surrounding software development methodologies has evolved in recent years from a focus on technology and pure computer science subjects to issues of values, meaning and communication. This shift in the way software development is perceived in the professional world could be further explored through a Foucauldian analysis of [...]

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