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

The central perspective that underlies most of the articles featured on this blog could be summarised by the notion of ‘software as discourse’. I would like to give an overview of what this concept means to me from a theoretical point of view, on which assumptions it relies, and what it entails from a methodological [...]

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Conversation Analysis could be defined as a discourse analysis method which relies on the assumption that only talk-in-interaction constitutes a valid object of analysis: relevant meaning is only created in the framework of an actual conversation between two or more participants. Thus, Conversation Analysis is often described as a positivist approach: conversation analysts argue that [...]

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Reductionism could be viewed as an essential theoretical component of modern natural sciences such as biology or genetics. Although reductionist approaches work very well as long as “natural” phenomena are studied, things become more difficult when human beings are involved as the object of study. Let us try and see how this notion of reductionism [...]

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I have tried to show in previous posts how certain aspects of an interactive system such as how it works, what it does, or what it represents, could be seen as emerging in the framework of its actual use. Furthermore, I have tried to provide a theoretical grounding to such an approach by borrowing from [...]

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Since I had a bit of success with my article about adopting a poststructuralist perspective towards user experience (Indeed, 2 people commented! amazing: Thank you Kshitiz and mc), I thought it would be nice to go a bit deeper in the subject, by briefly evoking some of the main notions behind poststructuralist theory and by [...]

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Interactionism is a social scientific tradition that relies on the assumption that the “real” world is actively constructed by people: It therefore views the mind primarily as a tool for solving the “pragmatic concerns” of everyday life. Thus, the basis of all social life can be found in all the small interactions we conduct every [...]

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I think that it would be interesting to explore the theoretical ramification of an interpretation of the notion of user experience from a ‘radically’ poststructuralist point of view, that would put the emphasis not only on the subjective experience of users of interactive systems, but also on the subjective experience of the people who actually [...]

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Falsificationism could be understood as a solution to the problems entailed by the use of inductive reasoning for the construction of genuine scientific knowledge, which was introduced by Karl Popper in the middle of the twentieth century. Even though it has since been the subject of criticisms, this concept provoked a redefinition of the line [...]

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


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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