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How Software Matters: Connective Tissue and Self-Driving Cars

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)

Published
Publication date20/07/2018
Host publicationSocial Practices and Dynamic Non-Humans: Nature, Materials and Technologies
EditorsCecily Maller, Yolande Strengers
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Pages173-192
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783319921891
ISBN (Print)9783319921884
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Drawing on the example of self-driving and connected cars, this chapter explores how the software that is being integrated into, and transforming, everyday objects might be conceptualised within theories of practice. It argues that although software is an especially dynamic and intangible ‘material’ it can still be accommodated within existing conceptualisations of materiality in practice theories. The automation that software enables can be positioned as part of practice complexes, even when it does not play a direct, constitutive role in any single practice. In addition, through performing varied work in connecting practices and enabling ‘feedback’ over time and space, software can be understood to form part of the connective tissue by which practice complexes hang together and change.