Expectation and Mobilisation: Enacting Future Users

Wilkie, Alex and Michael, Mike. 2009. Expectation and Mobilisation: Enacting Future Users. Science, Technology & Human Values, 34(4), pp. 502-522. ISSN 0162-2439 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article considers how the figure of the 'user' is deployed to imagine the assembling of location-based mobile phone technologies in the context of UK policy. Drawing on the sociology of expectations, we address the performativity of the 'user' in the think tank Demos' publication Mobilisation. In the process, we analyze how discourses about users enact particular futures that feature arrangements of, for example, persons, mobile phone technologies, and political institutions. We present two narrative strategies operating in Mobilisation: first, the purification of the social and technological in the portrayal of futures and their impediments; second, how existing, emergent, and future users serve as 'narrative joints', reconnecting the social and technological in the enactment of preferred policy trajectories. In conclusion, we explore Mobilisation as a `catalogue of expectations' in which the representation of a multiplicity of users is itself performative, enacting a particular future policy terrain while bracketing off others.

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Identification Number (DOI):



user, expectations, think tank, location-based technology

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP) [2003-2015]


8 June 2009Published

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Date Deposited:

22 Jan 2010 11:42

Last Modified:

07 Jul 2017 11:12

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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