Susann Wagenknecht on hacking and the social sciences

When visiting 32C3, the 32rd Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg, Germany, one talk stood out to me in relevance to my PhD. Susann Wagenknecht spoke about the different frames in which social scientists review hacking. I have covered aspects of her talks in my research, such as hacking as a leisure pursuit and hacking as innovation.

And, like her, I am interested in the tension that hacking creates between design and use. Hacking opens up the distinction between “priviledged designers”, who “change the world”  and “users, who use stuff”.  This is particularly relevant in my opinion in the question of helath care, and dementia, where the user is very often automatically perceived as the receiver of design, as a passive consumer. So, can people living with dementia be hackers? And how does this play out into the common frames of designers and users? Two key questions of my PhD project.

Her talk is a very interesting one for HCI researcher, not only in the area of hacking, as it opens up questions on use, design and the question whether the political impact of technology is under-researched in HCI.


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