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KETCindy - supporting tool to convert students' findings intoknowledge in collegiate mathematics education


In this technological era, various ICT tools are used to help students’ learning. In case of collegiate mathematics education, the typical tools are Computer Algebra Systems (CAS) and Dynamic Geometry Software (DGS). By using them, students can have rich experiences concerning mathematical facts and mechanisms. Some of these systems are usable not only on PCs but also on iPads or tablets, which seems to make students’ learning much more effective. The following picture shows one scene of using Cinderella, one of the most popular DGS, in mathematics classroom.

Figure 1. Use of Cinderella in mathematics classroom


Though the experimental and interactive learning with these systems should enable students to learn by experience, it is also necessary to prepare some facilities to ensure close linkage to paper and pencil based learning in order to convert the students’ findings into their established knowledge (as shown in the above picture). Since TeX is one of the most popular tools to edit printed teaching materials in collegiate mathematics education [1], we developed KETpic, a macro package for some CASs (Maple, Mathematica, Scilab, etc.), and KETCindy, a macro package for Cinderella, to convert the graphical outputs of these software into TeX graphics code. They are freely downloadable at In this presentation, we will show some effective samples produced with KETCindy and the procedure to generate them.

Methods and Results

The procedure to generate final TeX (PDF) output with high-quality graphics is summarized in the diagram of Figure 2 (KETCindy cycle).

Figure 2. KETCindy cycle

Once KETCindy is loaded, users are requested simply to execute commands in Cindyscript (the scripting language for Cinderella) in order to plot mathematical data. Cinderella-embedded KETCindy commands generate additional TeX source code and files (with the aid of Scilab-KETpic procedure), which are subsequently compiled in TeX in the usual manner. These Scilab and TeX procedures can be executed through simple batch processing (as shown with dashed arrow). If you find any points to be corrected in the final PDF output, you only need to modify the commands in the Cindyscript file.

For example, materials in Figure 3 were used to explain the background of some formula in the integration of quadratic functions.

Figure 3. Material generated with KETCindy



When the former figure on Cinderella screen is displayed, the functions f(x) and g(x) can be modified interactively. Through such “experiments”, students can understand that the background mechanism of the formula is valid in any case. Also by using the latter figure on PDF printed output, students can deduce the precise formula through paper and pencil based calculations. The important points are that

  1. The figure on Cinderella screen and that on PDF output are completely the same.
  2. The modification of the former figure can be directly reflected to the latter figure.
  3. Students can use the printed material containing the process of their calculations and deductions in classroom also after school repeatedly.
  4. Though some facilities to make effective linkage between algebraic computation capabilities and interactive graphics capabilities on PCs or tablets have been developed [2], there still remain some risks that students’ understandings become only transient, especially in case of collegiate education. KETCindy should serve as a powerful tool to convert their findings into their established knowledge. Because only half a year has passed since the development of KETCindy started, there were not so many opportunities that its products are used in real classrooms. The authors are planning to execute many experimental lessons using KETCindy outputs in near future.


Using interactive graphics capabilities of DGS, many attractive teaching materials have been produced [3]. It seems that the aim of using those materials is to inspire students’ interest to mathematical facts and mechanisms through experimental approaches. Static graphics generated on printed teaching materials should play another role in mathematics education. They help students to convert the information they obtained through various channels into their established knowledge by paper and pencil based activities. The materials produced by using KETCindy enable students to access both types of resources simultaneously. Therefore, KETCindy should have a great possibility to provide completely new type of teaching materials. The authors will try to provide such new kind of materials and share them with wide range of educational researchers and teachers through many channels as listed in [3].


This work is supported by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) 24501075.

References and Notes

  1. Kaneko M.; Takato S. The effective use of LaTeX drawing in linear algebra. The Electronic Journal of Mathematics and Technology 2011, Volume 5-2, 1-20.
  2. Kllogjeri P. GeoGebra: A global platform for teaching and learning math together and using the synergy of mathematics. Comm. in Computer and Information Science 2010; Springer; Volume 73, pp. 681-687.
  3. Kortenkamp U. Interoperable interactive geometry for Europe. The Electronic Journal of Mathematics and Technology 2011, Volume 5-1, 1-14.

© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI and ISIS. This abstract is distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license.

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Customer service quality for online shopping: Evidence from

Customer service includes a series of activities that enhance customer satisfaction (Turban and Efraim, 2002). Customer service includes pre-transaction service, transaction service and post-transaction service (Van Riel, 2004). The previous study shows that the enterprise which build excellent customer relationship may increase their profits more than 60% (Reichheld, 1990). Lots of scholars research in online service quality which focuses on online bank, website design (website service), online library, online shopping, online service, virtual community, online clothing, online travel etc. They develop e-service quality scale dimensions from 3 to 15(each includes several items.)

Online customer service system has become an important tool of online marketing. At the same time, it has also become a basic part to exhibit the enterprise and to interact with visitors. It's a hot topic to find the key factors which influence perceived online customer service quality. Dangdang is one of the most popular websites to buy books. This study lists many factors which influence online service quality and customer satisfaction from previous literature, then explores the key factors which influence perceived online customer service quality in online customer services.

The purpose of this paper is to present the results of an empirical study that analyzed how the 6 factors 1.accessibility, 2.reliability, 3.ease-of-use/usefulness, 4.interactivity, 5. responsibility/efficiency, and 6. safety/privacy influence the perceived service quality as for online customers. Accessibility refers that the site can provide a series of entrance (menus, buttons, links etc.) to solve problem during the process of pre-transactions, transaction and post-transaction. Reliability is one of dimensions of SERVQUAL, which refers the ability to reliably, accurately perform the service commitment. Reliability includes two aspects: one means that the website functions such as search engine, payment instruments etc. are reliable. The other means that the service commitment, financial information, product information and other relevant information provided by the website are reliable. Ease of Use/Availability(EOU) refers a friendly interface, especially when users search for useful information. EOU is an important factor for users to make a choice in which website to purchase. The perception of EOU is a key reason for the users to make a decision whether or not to accept the customer services. Interaction means a kind of two-way transmission between webpage and information browser. "Interaction” is a big advantage of Internet media. The real "interactive" web site should show "interactivity" according to people’s communication each other freely. Responsiveness is the willing to help customers and rapidly improve the service level. The response speed of customer services provided will greatly affect the evaluation result of service quality. The faster and more accurate of the response of online customer services, the more satisfaction which the customer perceived. The security dimension originates from the Assurance dimension of SERVQUAL which refers employees’ knowledge, etiquette and ability to express confidence and reliability. When transactions come to network, security is very important to build trust of customers because of no face-to-face contact between customers and company (and its employee). Security/privacy is very important to protect customers’ privacy information and financial information. According to these factors, this paper put forward a series of online service quality related assumptions.

The applied methodology combines factor analysis and regression analysis to a novel data set which comes from actual buyers of The questionnaire is divided into four parts: basic demographic information, introduction of background knowledge, perceived online customer service quality, factors which influence perceived online customer service quality. This questionnaire is designed with series closed questions which can select only one answer from several choices except for basic personal information. The scale of perceived online customer service quality and its influence factors is designed with 5-likert scale.

Through sampling, the reliability and validity analysis of questionnaires, factor analysis, regression analysis, this paper draws a conclusion. The results demonstrate that the 6 factors have significant positive influence on the perceived service quality for online customers. The insights impart an important set of guidelines for service providers interested in enhancing the quality of their online customers' experience.

Most operators of online shopping web site think that, online customer services, especially Pre-Transaction service and Post-Transaction service are not essential, or just a means of personalized customer service package to attract customers. But we believe that the Accessibility, Reliability, Ease of Use/Availability, Interactivity, Responsiveness/Efficiency, Security/Privacy during the whole transaction process will significantly influence the perceived customer service quality. In fact, real-time online customer services can improve the interactivity and responsiveness, and increase the ease-of-use to a certain extent, so it will significantly improve perception level of customer service quality.

So the operators should strengthen them to pave the way for customers’ repurchase. On the one hand, improving customer service quality, can help enterprises to establish good market image, cultivate brand loyalty of customers. On the other hand, market image of service enterprises has a significant impact on the actual experience of customer service quality. Secondly, with the development of technology, real-time online customer services has no technical barriers, online shopping site that launches real-time online customer services, may have a big Competitive Advantage to attract customers.

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Quantification of audiences as a decision-making factor in Slovene web journalism

Business models of news media organisations are currently undergoing profound transformations as the ability of traditional news media to effectively monetise their audiences is eroding (Napoli 2011). Since the beginning of the global economic crisis the news industry is facing not only problems of trust in journalism, but also of increasing financial difficulties resulting from declining numbers of readers, listeners and viewers, lower advertising revenues and failed technological innovations in the sphere of journalistic production (e. g. Jones and Salter 2012; Grieskin et al 2012). While online news production has often been studied from the perspective of audience participation in the creation and distribution of news or the impact of digital technology on newsgathering routines, it has less frequently been examined how business models of news organisations are being transformed in the digital age. Different authors (e.g. Napoli 2011; Fuchs 2011; Turow 2012; Allmer 2012) emphasize that digital technologies enable increased surveillance of internet users; it remains to be answered to what degree media industries (beyond biggest Internet corporations) in fact utilize these possibilities in their daily business and in what ways “economic surveillance” influences their decisions. It is therefore of key importance to study the changes in these industries that occurred in the recent years because of technological developments and the economic squeeze. In short, these transformations must be analysed from a critical political-economic perspective as well.

While Slovenia has been especially hit by the global capitalist crisis (e.g. Vobič et al 2014) and Slovenian media industries have undergone transformations similar to other capitalist countries, Slovene media have also been under pressure from holders of social power during the last 20 years in the form of unstable ownerships, unstable management and frequent changes of editors, making it hard to balance journalistic and business goals. (Vobič 2012) The transition to online has in part because of this troubled history been quite problematic. In Slovenia detailed analysis of business models of digital media are available only for online editions of newspapers (e. g. Vobič 2013) and they find they are adapting to deteriorating financial circumstances mainly by reducing production costs, especially the costs of labour.

Using the methods of content analysis, document analysis and in-depth interviews with journalists, editors, and advertisers, the authors analyse the three most visited Slovene news sites (, Planet Siol and MMC RTV SLO) to examine: a) how these organisations are adapting to changing circumstances (particularly decreasing advertising revenues); b) how relationships between media organisations and advertisers are being transformed; and c) how is the availability of online audience metrics impacting the work process in newsrooms, relationships between different parts of news organisations (particularly the editorial and marketing of advertising space) and relationships between news organisations and advertisers.

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The Social Interaction Characteristics of Mobil-Mediated Communication:An Exploration Study of Interpersonal Communication Behavior in Mobile Channel

The digital technology has changed the efficiency of communication and affected people’s communication pattern as well. In the early days of internet usage, the concerns of academic research of interpersonal communication from the past face to face communication, change to the evolution of the computer-mediated communication (CMC). Nowadays, the popularity of smart phones generates a new interpersonal communication pattern - mobil-mediated communication (MMC). This change involves not only different communication device, but also function expansion, contact efficiency and economy. The communication relationship and social interaction, along with the technology transition result new models.

Mobil-mediated communication in the academic field is still a new topic, relevant researches mainly focus on the technic innovation of communication technology or message properties. However, there are more and more studies direct to the social relations of communication. Yuan (2012) studied mobile phones for social relations in Chinese society which provide many practical observations of communication behavior. On indirect and high-context patterns of Chinese social interaction, mobile phones play an important role and develop relation-oriented cultural norms. Communication through mobile phones are used to define and mediate group members, maintain social cohesion and harmony.

Chinese society highly values social relationship. In this study, mobile phone is regarded as intermediary vehicle which links people’s social relationship netwok. On one hand, people interaction through moble phone, the social media, can establish contact and strengthen each others’ affection connection. On the other hand, instead of face to face communication, smart phone’s mediated effect omit the social context clues so that interpersonal relationship possess the flexibility of avoidance. Therefore, this study analyze the characteristics of social reaction in the mobile-mediated situation. There are two research questions developed . First, how people use mobile phone to proceed interpersonal communication and establish positive effect of warm feeling? Second, , how people use mobile phone to take the avoid effect for buffering emotional conflict? The research adopts quality method of focus group interview to examine communication exerperience of smart phone usage. There are six business professionals as focus group interviewers. The discussion focuses on the phenomenas of positive and advoid effect in mobile-mediated situation.

The research found that smart phone offers many communication convenience, allowing users able to have a positive emotional warming effect, then bring a better interactive experience. Common experiences of respondents believe that smart phones not only provide basic voice calls, but also have important advantages to facilitate communication. For example, all users installed Line or FB community communication APP, which can replace the voice dialoge so that the contact become more economical and convenient. Some APP stickers even improve the texts communication to a more lively type and increase the pleasure of communication behavior. Respondents also reveal mobile-mediated communication can lower the interpersonal relation stress and avoid psychological burden. Precisely the avoid effects come from smartphone’s powerful functions. For example, response time has considerable flexibility when phone call. Receiver does not have to bear the direct communication of pressure, and take easy to read message.

In conclusion, mobile-mediated communication provides a convenient channel for interpersonal contact. It towards a very positive impact on the development of social relationship. Especially mobile phones with a variety of affiliated functions, users can adopt it for different situations and communication purposes. It contributes to human interaction with a positive and conflict avoidance effect. Without physical contact like face to face interaction, mobile-mediated communication create a new social relation pattern and helps to strengthen the development of the collective consciousness and social cohesion.

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Scale, Hyperscale and Metascalar Information in Living Systems

Investigation of the relationships between information, reality and cognition targets the structural-procedural properties of organisms as living systems. Nature tends towards hierarchical forms of both structure and process, and consequently any study of information in this context must of necessity take account of the characteristics of existing scales and their interfaces. The situation is complicated by the pragmatic tendency of evolution to scavenge prior existing features in creating new ones, and consequently biology does not uniquely exhibit hierarchical configurations. This paper addresses the nature of hierarchical organization and the origin of information in a biological context; although the ideas presented here can be applied almost equally well to non-biological entities where hierarchy is less-well defined or extant.

We have previously published [1, 2] extensive details of the relationships between different scales or levels of organization in living systems, and here we will only refer to those characteristics which are relevant to our present purpose. Dodig-Crnkovic and Giovagnoli [3] have described Nature as a hierarchically-organized network of networks, which corresponds well to our own viewpoint. Multi-scalar systems are by their very nature unified, and this unification is a real characteristic of any system [4], which integrates all of the system’s scales into a scale-free hyperscalar representation in which simplified replicas of the ‘real’ scales are ‘objectively’ (more-than-subjectively) accessible, in the sense that Havel [5] has (socially) defined ‘objective’ as a ‘group subjective’. The transition from multiple scales to their integration in hyperscale is an example of the one-out-of-many interpretation of information referred to by Schroeder [6].

Natural hierarchy decomposes into two partial hierarchies, one corresponding to the entity under consideration, the other corresponding to its context. Consequently, there are two partial integrations leading to hyperscale, and two (partial) hyperscales. These make up a ubiquitous duality in system representation. Ultimately, these two partial hyperscales re-integrate to give a singular metascalar representamen of the entire system. Peircian semiotics [7] treats all interactions as interpretations of signs. In the (biosemiotic) context of organismic system unification, individual scales, their hyperscalar representations and the metascalar outcome all appear as signs. We hypothesize that hyperscalar representations correspond to secondness in Peirce’s scheme of things, and that metascale corresponds to Peirce’s thirdness.

Salthe has published extensively on the concept of hierarchy [see, for example, 8]. His position has consistently been that hierarchy is a human mental construct, devoid of any other reality. We beg to differ. Hierarchy permits the generation of simple representations of complex informational domains, thus supporting faster survival-promoting reactions to environmental stimuli, and as such it is a primary cognitive mechanism used by all living systems, not just humans. This, of course, raises the question of the validity of representation in information theory. Our own position is clearly that representation is a necessary ‘computational’ device for survival and therefore for evolution itself. Any other position would negate the importance of hierarchy in Nature. As Dodig-Crnkovic and Giovagnoli [3] comment in their discussion of connectionist approaches, “… it is correct that there is ‘no computation without representation’”.

We hypothesize that the reality of a singular metascale corresponds to information per se: as Schroeder [9] points out, “…information has been formulated as identification of a variety, where identification is understood as that which either selects, distinguishes one out of many, or that which makes the many into one (a whole).” This high-level metascalar formulation incorporates the properties of all of a living system’s scalar properties in such a unified form that individual selection is also possible: it combines Schroeder’s [6] “two complementary manifestations of information.”


1     Cottam, R.; Ranson, W.; Vounckx, R. Autocreative hierarchy II: dynamics - self-organization, emergence and level-changing. In International Conference on Integration of Knowledge Intensive Multi-Agent Systems; Hexmoor, H., Ed.; IEEE: Piscataway, NJ, USA, 2003, pp. 766-773.
2     Cottam, R.; Ranson, W.; Vounckx, R. A framework for computing like Nature. In Computing Nature; Dodig-Crnkovic, G., Giovagnoli, R., Eds.; Springer SAPERE series: Berlin, Germany, 2013; pp. 23-60.
3     Dodig-Crnkovic, G.; Giovagnoli, R. Computing nature – a network of networks of concurrent information processes. In Computing Nature; Dodig-Crnkovic, G., Giovagnoli, R., Eds.; Springer SAPERE series: Berlin, Germany, 2013; pp. 1-22.
4     Cottam R.; Ranson W.; Vounckx R. A biosemiotic view on consciousness derived from system hierarchy. In The Unity of Mind, Brain and World: Current Perspectives on a Science of Consciousness; Pereira Jr, A., Lehmann, D., Eds.; Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK, pp. 77-112.
5     Havel, I.M. Scale dimensions in nature. International Journal of General Systems 1995, 23, 303-332.
6     Schroeder, M.J. From philosophy to theory of information. Information Theories and Applications 2011, 18, 56-68.
7     Peirce, C. S. Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce; Hartshorne, C., Weiss, P., Eds., Volumes 1-6; Burks, A., Ed., Volumes 7-8, Belknap Press: Cambridge, MA, USA, 1931-1958.
8     Salthe, S.N. Hierarchical structures. Axiomathes 2012, 22, 355-383.
9     Schroeder, M.J. Foundations for science of information: reflection on the method of inquiry. tripleC 2011, 9, 377-384.

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Big Data, Corporate Governance, and the Limits of Algorithmic Accountability

In our increasingly datafied societies, algorithms play an ever more important role. Private companies such as Google, Facebook, or Amazon use algorithmic operations to steer information flows, rank content, strategically place product ads, and predict future user behavior. As scholars have argued, such algorithms are neither neutral nor objective, but the result of subjective interpretations and decisions, choices and classifications, potentially giving way to conscious or unconscious discrimination and bias (see boyd and Crawford 2011; Barocas and Selbst 2015). However, if algorithms are formative rather than descriptive, not just depicting realities but actively producing them by choosing "which information is 'best'" (Mayer 2010), shouldn't the modalities of these realities, i.e. their ingrained assumptions and actual social consequences, be subject to scrutiny and critical reflection? Put differently: If people's actions and experiences are to a growing extent defined by and mediated through algorithmic processes, shouldn't we be interested in establishing ways to hold these algorithmic systems accountable?

As recent legal (Lunden 2015) and regulatory (Scott 2015) disputes have demonstrated, achieving algorithmic accountability that increases transparency and renders online intermediaries' automated decision-making procedures answerable is a challenging undertaking, for several reasons:

First, there is the problem of secrecy. Internet companies tend to be extremely tight-lipped about details on their algorithmic formulas, arguing that any public disclosure would allow spammers to "game the system" (Mayer 2010) and manipulate results. What's more, however, is that algorithms such as Google's Page Rank are core elements of a platform's product, which is why the high level of secrecy is also designed to maintain a competitive advantage and prevent rival companies from copying methods and building upon them (see Pasquale 2013).

Second, even if the details of a specific algorithm were made accessible and the necessary technical expertise to investigate could be mustered, chances are that a 'smoking gun', i.e. evidence of 'hardcoded' bias or discrimination, could not be readily found. This is because algorithmic systems do not function as standalone boxes, but as networked sociotechnical assemblages that include a multitude of human and non-human actors, with people debating models, setting target goals, cleaning training data, adjusting parameters, and choosing the specific context of application (see Gillespie 2014). Hence, algorithmic accountability is also difficult to achieve because algorithmic systems are fundamentally complex.

A third concern is the issue of speed. Online companies are continuously engaged in updating and tuning existing algorithms, testing and implementing new ones, abolishing those that have proven ineffective. Much of this goes unnoticed by the user, some of it, such as Facebook's 'emotional contagion' study (Kramer et al. 2014), gains public attention. If certain lines have been crossed and there is a backlash, organizations are usually quick to apologize, conceding that they "did a bad job" and "really messed up" (Isaac 2014). Features then disappear, but the tinkering with similar products often continues. In such an experimental space of fast-paced hit-and-miss, accountability concerns seem downright outdated. After all, how to oversee and regulate what is so elusive?

All of these factors contribute to the notion of algorithms as opaque, inscrutable artifacts and have arguably led to a veritable crisis of three major actors that can demand accountability, namely the media, government bodies, and jurisprudence. Hampered by a lack of data, expertise, and technical skills, and substantially affected by the progressing computer- and datafication themselves, these institutions have not only been largely toothless in controlling and governing rapidly changing digital markets, but have also, voluntarily or not, contributed to the spread of algorithmic opacity. The result is a private sector dominated by a few increasingly powerful organizations that are capable of monopolizing vast parts of the available online data, thereby further strengthening their market position and becoming obligatory passage points (Callon 1986) in a networked world.

Given this somewhat troubling state of affairs, is there any possibility to obtain or at least support some form of algorithmic accountability? How can we begin to address and solve these issues in a productive manner?

While it is certainly possible to improve the practices of each of the three watchdog institutions referred to above – the continuing antitrust investigations of Google by U.S. and European authorities and attempts to improve skills in "algorithmic accountability reporting" (Diakopoulos 2014) seem to point in the right direction – there may indeed be need to consider some more far-reaching solutions and alternatives. The paper will address both small- and large-scale solutions, seeking to provide ideas for a more effective and democratic governance of digital (data) markets.


The authors wish to acknowledge the financial support of the Austrian Science Fund (P-23770).


Barocas, Solon; Selbst, Andrew D. (2015) Big Data's Disparate Impact. Draft Version. Available at:

Boyd, Danah; Crawford, Kate (2012) "Critical Questions For Big Data: Provocations for a Cultural, Technological, and Scholarly Phenomenon." In: Information, Communication & Society, Vol. 15, No. 5.

Callon, Michel (1986) "Elements of a sociology of translation: Domestication of the Scallops and the Fishermen of St Brieuc Bay." In: Law, John (Ed.) Power, Action and Belief: A New Sociology of Knowledge? London: Routledge, pp. 196-233.

Diakopoulos, Nicholas (2014) "Algorithmic Accountability." In: Digital Journalism. Available at:

Gillespie, Tarleton (2014) Algorithm. Draft Paper. Available at:

Kramer, Adam D. I.; Guillory, Jamie E.; Hancock, Jeffrey E. (2014) "Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks". In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 111, No. 29.

Lunden, Ingrid (2015) Facebook's European Privacy Class Action Hearing Set For April 9. Techcrunch article. Available at:

Marissa, Meyer (2010) Do Not Neutralise the Web's Endless Search. Financial Times article. Available at:

Pasquale, Frank (2013) "Paradoxes of Digital Antitrust: Why the FTC Failed to Explain Its Inaction on Search Bias." In: Harvard Journal of Law & Technology Occasional Paper Series. Available at:

Scott, Mark (2015) E.U. Official Urges Google to Offer Greater Concessions in Antitrust Inquiry. New York Times article. Available at:

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The Metascalar Nature of Information

Brenner [1] has published a logical characterization of Nature in which ‘A’ and ‘non-A’ are non-separable, where 'A' and 'non-A' are not the terms of standard bivalent logics but refer to elements of evolving processes or systems, and where a third ‘T-state’ can or will emerge from their interaction in terms of actual and potential. This leads also to the non-separability of ontology and epistemology. We accept that Brenner’s characterization is valid, and have previously addressed [2] its relationship to the representation of hierarchical structure, following the insistence of Havel [3] that scale should be presumed to be a necessary constituent of all theory. In this paper we extend our treatment to the domain of information, which we picture as a coupling between structure and process. Hierarchy is naturally partially birational, between entity and context, and we find that this duality matches Brenner’s characterization.

The directly-inaccessible duality of scaled data and its scaled context presents itself as the precursor of a partial hyperscalar duality which is ‘the real contextual nature’ [4] of the entity in its temporal and spatial context. These two partial hyperscales self-re-integrate resulting in a singular metascalar T-state which is information. Representation is then the abductive metascalar interpretation of the unification of the dual partial hyperscales which constitutes information.

Metascalar information is both objective and subjective, in indivision. The first, entity partial hierarchy is of individual subjective scales of data, while the second is of individual subjective scales of context; a scaled form of von Uexküll’s [5] umwelts. Havel [3] has presented the notion that scientific ‘objectivity’ is in fact societal group subjectivity. The two partial hyperscales are ‘objective’ in Havel’s group-subjective sense. We hypothesize that this duality is at the roots of the real and imaginary parts of evolved complex algebra, in a manner similar to the way that inter-scale data-loss is at the roots of the evolved hierarchical nature of mathematical equations.

This assembly of ideas is at this level of description purely abstract: if we now look at an embodied form we find that intelligence is the tool which enables inter-scalar transitions; that sapience permits conclusions from complete scale-assemblies (the construction of hyperscale); and that embodied metascalar information is metamorphosed into the high-level informational construct of wisdom. We have described in [6] how inter-viewing between the two hyperscales generates the unified high level awareness of consciousness. This phenomenon is concurrent with the development of wisdom: the one (wisdom) is a simplistic integration of the characters and contents of the two hyperscales [2]; the other (consciousness) is a less direct integration [6] whose character depends on the interpretation of observation as a mutual measurement [7] and whose content is restricted to rapidly-changing effects by stasis neglect [6] and habituation [8]. The one is not possible without the other, and their intertwining depends on the metascalar integration of information.


  1. Brenner, J.E. Logic in Reality; Berlin: Springer: Berlin, Germany, 2008.
  2. Cottam R.; Ranson W.; Vounckx R. A framework for computing like Nature. In Computing Nature; Dodig-Crnkovic, G., Giovagnoli, R., Eds.; Springer SAPERE series: Berlin, Germany, 2013; pp. 23-60.
  3. Havel, I.M. Scale dimensions in nature. International Journal of General Systems 1995, 23, 303-332.
  4. Cottam, R.; Ranson, W.; Vounckx, R. Autocreative hierarchy II: dynamics - self-organization, emergence and level-changing. In International Conference on Integration of Knowledge Intensive Multi-Agent Systems; Hexmoor, H., Ed.; IEEE: Piscataway, NJ, USA, 2003, pp. 766-773.
  5. von Uexküll, T. Introduction: The sign theory of Jakob von Uexküll. Semiotica 1992, 89, 279-315.
  6. Cottam, R. and Ranson, W. A biosemiotic view on consciousness derived from system hierarchy. In The Unity of Mind, Brain and World: Current Perspectives on a Science of Consciousness; Pereira Jr., A.; Lehmann, D., Eds.; Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK, 2013, pp. 77-112.
  7. Matsuno, K. The internalist stance: a linguistic practice enclosing dynamics. Proc NY Acad Sci 2000, 901, 322-349.
  8. Sokolov, Y.N. Higher nervous functions: the orienting reflex. Annu Rev Physiol 1963, 25, 545-580.
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Virtual Work and Place in the Creative Industries


This paper explores the relation between an increasing ‘place-independence’ of labour in creative industries and the persisting necessity of local embeddedness. The creative industries are predestined to display new trends of structural change in labour organisation (Manske/Schnell 2010). Because of dynamic developments of new forms of labour and labour organisation caused by developments in ICTs, as well as the potential for economic growth, the creative industries are an interesting field of research. Though these changes of labour organisation were in recent years more common in low-skill- and highly standardised areas commonly referred to as ‘crowdwork’ or ‘crowdsourcing’ (Howe 2006), these labour practices increasingly spread to high-skilled labour, the creative industries on its forefront.


This paper is the first output of an ongoing research project from the University of Vienna (Department of Sociology) and FORBA (Working Life Research Centre, Vienna). To provide a brief overview of current discussions about place and virtual work the paper sums up noteworthy contributions found in literature. In addition to the literature review first insights in our empirical research and preliminary results will be presented. The research’s design comprises a qualitative panel survey (35+ qualitative follow-up interviews) with people working in the creative industries. These interviews were and are being conducted in 2005 and 2015. The second part is a mapping of Austrian crowd workers and companies that outsource creative tasks. The third part of the empirical research implies 10-15 qualitative interviews with crowd workers. And in the fourth part 5-7 interviews with clients (people who or companies that outsource creative tasks) and 5 interviews with experts in the field of creative production are being conducted. All interviews will be fully transcribed and interpreted using sociological hermeneutics (Hitzler 1999; Froschauer/Lueger 2009) and content analysis (Mayring 2000).

Results and Discussion

The emergence and progression of information technologies have a vast impact on many aspects of creative work. Easier access to information technologies (i.e. computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc.) contributes to a growing ‘place-independence’ of the production of creative goods. This delocalisation of ICT-enabled or virtual work is, ‘in principle’, always possible and is leading, according to commentators (see, for example, Friedman, 2006), to ‘world flattening’ effects. Better and easier access to the internet as well as faster and more reliable network structures increasingly allow creative producers to work online and connect themselves to clients from basically all over the world, for example via crowdsourcing platforms, e.g.,, etc., and thus drastically impact creative production itself as well as power relations between the creative producer and the client.

In contrast to this view, we argue that especially creative work is rooted deeply in places. Spatial aspects and social milieus influence the creative work process in various ways. In literature there are several arguments pointing to the spatial and geographic ‘embeddedness’ of (creative) work. There are, for one, classical agglomeration effects (Simmel 1992; Wirth 1938) that benefit the clustering of creative workers and hence foster the emergence of the creative industries. These arguments include infrastructural factors, such as architecture, transportation possibilities, size and density of the agglomeration area. Other explanations stressing the importance of place in regard to creative production focus on human capital (Florida 2002; Kotkin 2001), networks (Granovetter 1983; Grabher 2004) or social interaction (Storper/Venables 2003; Clare 2012; Currid 2007; Merkel/Oppen 2012). These theories emphasise, to a varying extend, the importance of place and spatial relations.


The paper concludes what is often perceived as ‘placele-independence’ needs to be actively ‘produced’ in every single case through a process which may include the digitisation of information, the modularisation of creative processes and the standardisation of tasks (Huws et al. 2004). In such processes, aspects of organisation, labour relations, technology and space are closely intertwined. To examine the socially contingent effects of digitalised work we need to analyse the ways in which crowdwork within social and economic power relations is made possible in the first place and the ways in which it can empower people or make them vulnerable.

References and Notes

1. Clare, Karenjit. The essential role of place within the creative industries: Boundaries, networks

and play. Cities 2012, Vol.34:52-57.

2. Currid, Elizabeth. How Art and Culture Happen in New York: Implications for Urban Economic Development. Journal of the American Planning Association 2007, Vol.73(4):454-467.

3. Florida, Richard. Bohemia and economic geography. Journal of Economic Geography 2002. Vol.2(1):55-71.

4. Froschauer, Ulrike; Lueger, Manfred. Interpretative Sozialforschung: der Prozess. Wien : Facultas.WUV. Austria, 2009.

5. Grabher, Gernot. Learning in projects, remembering in networks: Communality, sociality,

and connectivity in project ecologies. European Urban and Regional Studies, 2004, 11, no. 2:


6. Granovetter, Mark. The Strenght of Weak Ties: A Network Theory Revisited . Sociological Theory, 1983, Vol.1, pp.201-233.

7. Friedman, Thomas L. The world is flat. A brief history of the twenty-first century. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2006.

8. Hitzler, Ronald; Hermeneutische Wissenssoziologie: Standpunkte zur Theorie der Interpretation. Konstanz: UVK, Univ.-Verl. Konstanz. Germany, 1999.

9. Howe, Jeff; The Rise of Crowdsourcing. Wired Magazine 2006, 14, 1-4.

10. Huws, U., Dahlmann, S. & Flecker, J. 2004. Outsourcing of ICT and Related Services in the EU: A Status Report. Report for the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.

11. Kotkin, Joel. The new geography: how the digital revolution is reshaping the American landscape. New York: Random House, United States, 2001.

12. Manske, Andrea; Schnell, Christiane. Arbeit und Beschäftigung in der Kultur und Kreativwirtschaft. In Handbuch Arbeitssoziologie; Böhle, Fritz; Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Germany, 2010; pp. 699-727.

13. Mayring, Philipp. Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse : Grundlagen und Techniken. 7Th ed.; Weinheim: Dt. Studien-Verlag, Germany, 2000.

14. Merkel, Janet; Oppen, Maria. Bedeutungsvolle Orte: Eine kultursoziologische Annäherung an kreative Handlungsressourcen in Städten. Working Paper. Berlin: Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), Germany, 2012.

15. Simmel, Georg. Soziologie. Untersuchungen über die Formen der Vergesellschaftung. Collected works Vol. 11. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, Germany, 1992.

16. Storper, Michael; Venables, Anthony. Buzz: face-to-face contact and the urban economy; In: Journal of Economic Geography 4, 2004, pp. 351-370.

17. Wirth, Louis. Urbanism as a way of life. In: The American Journal of Sociology 1938, 44(1). 1 – 24.

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The Genetic Code, the Golden Section and Genetic Music


The Moscow P. I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory has recently created a special “Center for interdisciplinary research of musical creativity”. One of the main tasks of this center is to study genetic musical scales from different aspects including new opportunities for composers and for musical therapy. This lecture is devoted to scientific aspects of the genetic musical scales, which are based on symmetric features of molecular ensembles of genetic systems. These musical scales were revealed in a course of symmetrologic study of representations of molecular-genetic ensembles in a united form of mathematical matrices (Kronecker or tensor families of genetic matrices). This study has disclosed a relation between genetic system, golden section and Fibonacci numbers, which play role in the hierarchical system of these musical scales and which are known in biological phyllotaxis laws and in aesthetics of proportions. Fibonacci numbers are also used in different branches of informatics, for example, they are the base of «Fibonacci computers» ( Some historical and biological aspects of musical harmony are also considered.

Main Part

From ancient times, understanding the phenomenon of music and creating musical structures were associated with mathematics. The creator of the first computer G.Leibniz wrote: “Music is a secret arithmetical exercise and the person who indulges in it does not realize that he is manipulating numbers” and “music is the pleasure the human mind experiences from counting without being aware that it is counting” ( ).

It can be mentioned that thoughts about the key significance of musical harmony in the organization of the world exist from ancient time. For example, Pythagoreans thought about musical intervals in the planetary system and in all around. J. Kepler wrote the famous book Harmonices Mundi, etc. Modern atomic physics found the harmonic ratios in spectral series by T. Lyman in the atom of hydrogen, which has been named “music of atomic spheres” by A. Einstein and A. Sommerfeld. The importance of Pythagorean ideas about a role of musical harmony was emphasized also by the Nobel prize winner in physics R. Feynman. Some classicists of crystallography emphasized a connection between crystal structures and musical harmony (C.S. Weiss, J. Grassman, V. Goldschmidt, etc.). Taking into account that E. Schrödinger named living bodies as “aperiodic crystal”, one can suppose that biological structures are also connected with musical harmony. Achievements of molecular biology have led to the new understanding of life itself: «Life is a partnership between genes and mathematics” [1]. From this point of view, attempts to reveal possible connections between musical harmony and living organisms can be focused to structures of molecular ensembles of the genetic code.The human brain does not possess a special center of music. The feeling of love to music seems to be dispersed in the whole organism. It is known that different emotions belong to inherited biological phenomena. Charles Darwin has revealed that all the chief expressions exhibited by man are the same throughout the world and that, with much probability, such expressions are innate ( It seems that many aspects of musical harmony also belong to inborn feelings and are connected with genetic phenomena.

The range of human sound perception contains an infinite set of sound frequencies. Pythagoras has revealed that certain mathematical rules, based on integers, allow separating - from this infinite set of frequencies - a discrete set of frequencies, which determine a harmonic sound set. In other words, certain combinations of sounds from this set are perceived by living organisms as pleasant for hearing (consonances). In addition, Pythagoras has linked the phenomenon of the harmonic sounds with the parameters of a physical object: oscillation frequencies of stretched string, the length of which is varied in accordance with appropriate numerical rules. However, these revelations by Pythagoras say nothing about the fact that other discrete sets of sound frequencies may exist, which will also form harmonic sets of sounds.

This lecture describes some results of studying symmetry properties of the genetic coding system by means of matrix representation and analysis of molecular ensembles of the genetic system. The results reveal that sets of parameters of this molecular genetic system are related to the well-known Pythagorean musical scale and also to a hierarchy of special mathematical sets. This hierarchy is called as “Fibonacci-stage scales” or “pentagram scales” because its structures are connected with Fibonacci numbers, the golden section φ = (1+50.5)/2 = 1.618… and with the factor φ2, which exists in regular 5-stars (pentagram) as a ratio between sides of the adjacent stars entered in each other. These mathematical scales can be interpreted and used as the base of a new system of musical scales, because appropriate sets of sound frequencies possess harmonic properties for human hearing. According to our assumption, it seems essential that these musical systems are connected with the molecular-genetic system. Our researches of the genetic code have inspired the authors together with their colleagues not only to research new musical scales but also to create a few musical instruments based on these new scales. Special software on the computer language Python to produce appropriate musical products was also created. A group of specialists from different fields of science, medicine and culture participate also in these works. Initial results of the wide study testify into a favor of good perspectives of this direction for science, culture and musical therapy (see some details in [2]).

One can remind additionally that the pentagram was used by the Pythagoreans who considered it as the emblem of perfection and health. Pythagoreans swore by it and used the pentagram as a distinctive sign of belonging to their community. The value φ2 is also well known in genetically inherited phenomena of phyllotaxis. The golden section is presented in 5fold-symmetrical objects of biological bodies (flowers, etc.), which are presented widely in the living nature but which are forbidden in classical crystallography. It exists as well in many figures of modern generalized crystallography: quasi-crystals by D. Shechtman, R. Penrose’s mosaics, dodecahedra of ensembles of water molecules, icosahedral figures of viruses, etc. The theme of golden section in genetic matrices seems to be important because many physiological systems and processes are connected with it. It is known that proportions of a golden section characterize many physiological processes: cardio-vascular processes, respiratory processes, electric activities of brain, locomotion activity, etc. The golden section is investigated for a long time in phenomena of aesthetic perception as well.


In our opinion, the aesthetic aspects of genetic music are connected not with a mechanical resonance of molecular structures under direct influence of sound waves but with informational aspects, which provide an effect of (not yet identified way of) recognition of a kindred language under during listening genetic music. This effect of recognition can be provided by biological algorithms of signal processing inside organisms. For example, in the case of pentagram music from the outside world, our organism can recognize those ratios, on which its genetic system and the whole inherited physiology are built, and the organism responds positively to this manifestation of a structural kinship of the outside world with its own genetic physiology. This positive reaction can be compared with mutual understanding between two persons when they begin to talk in the same language (if they talk in different languages, mutual understanding and interactivity don't arise though these persons can speak more and more loudly and energetically).

The described facts about relations of the genetic systems with musical harmony are essential for the problem of genetic bases of aesthetics and inborn feeling of harmony [3]. According to the words of R. Feynman about feeling of musical harmony, "we may question whether we are any better off than Pythagoras in understanding why [stressed] only certain sounds are pleasant to our ear.  The general theory of aesthetics is probably no further advanced now than in the time of Pythagoras" [4, Chapter 50].

Evolution of musical culture and contemporary music reflects dangers and hopes of our times. The impact of music on the general population is increasing due to new developments in science and technology. Musical therapy is one of musical applications, which is popular around the world and which has a social value. Understanding the biological basis of music perception and opportunities for further development of musical culture has social value and it should use data of contemporary science. Our data about connections of the genetic coding systems with musical harmony can be useful for this understanding.


  1. Stewart I. Life's other secret: The new mathematics of the living world. New-York: Penguin, 1999.
  2. Darvas, G., Koblyakov, A., Petoukhov, S., Stepanyan, I. Symmetries in molecular-genetic systems and musical harmony. Symmetry: Culture and Science, 2012, 3-4, pp. 343-375.
  3. Petoukhov S.V. Matrix genetics, algebras of the genetic code, noise-immunity. Moscow, RCD, 2008, 316 p. (in Russian,
  4. Feynman, R., Leighton, R., Sands, M. The Feynman lectures. New-York:  Pergamon Press, 1963.
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Critical Alternatives in Computing Scholarship: Coordinates of a Struggle to Go Beyond Capital


The history of computing scholarship has been marked by two narrative tropes about the work of scholars and computing professionals. Historically, these tropes go back to the 1950s, to the work of Norbert Wiener on one hand (1954), and of Shannon and Weaver (1949) on the other. Wiener was concerned with the social implications of digital technologies, centrally automation. Shannon and Weaver were more concerned with the technical characteristics of computing technologies and the smooth flow of communication. Since that time, the Shannon/Weaver program has been the dominant narrative, especially in the academic discipline of Computer Science. However, in computing practices, both narratives are recognized, as the search for technical proficiency is often framed in terms of social demands to be intercepted and translated into technological solutions, in the quest for an always “new new thing” (Lewis, 1999). Thus, from the beginning, there has been a gap between the way computing has actually developed—as a socio-technical process—and the way it is usually conceptualized—as a primarily technical activity, but one that largely takes as given the centrality of capital. One current manifestation of this confusion is the various positions taken on what “openness” means in computing, even in corporate talk: As a force for liberation but also a platform for the reproduction of capital (Tkatz, 2009).

The strange duality of computing narratives—socially and technically aware in practice, but engineering/corporately oriented in theory—has fostered an alternative domain of critical scholarship, manifest in, among other places, the decennial conferences held in Aarhus, Denmark. These conferences, as well as the closely related “Participatory Design Conferences” and “Computer Supported Cooperative Work” domain of inquiry, pay attention to the emergence of “Critical Alternatives” to the dominating computing practices, as illustrated by the title of the 2015 Aarhus Conference. Similarly, the aim of this paper is to sketch out, on the basis of our reading of the academic literature in the field of critical alternatives in computing, basic concepts for technological design that can be integrated into a leftist perspective, one that goes “beyond capital.”

1. A constructivist, critical perspective, on technology design

In general, constructivist perspectives on technology need to focus on more than the interpretation of technology. Some of these perspectives have been rightly critiqued for merely replacing one form of determinism, a technological one, with another social one. That both determinisms dismiss the dynamic relations between the social and technical dynamics is a theme in Science and Technology Studies (e.g. Latour, 1993). Still, technicist views of technology remain dominant.

The important task of building critical alternatives needs to begin by identifying and promoting what Shaowen Bardzell (Bardzell, 2010) has called the “constellation of qualities” that can replace incomplete with more nuanced perspectives, ones that acknowledge social construction while still attending to the co-construction of the social and the technical. Here, we outline the implications of one such a perspective for how design and production of digital technologies are conceived. We recognize DTs as one of the main sites where future societies are being built, seeing technology as “society made durable” (Latour, 1990).

Two concepts best capture the relation between an STS-inspired view of technology and the design of technology themselves. First, promoting the understanding that design comes “from somewhere” as opposed to being “from nowhere” (Suchman, 2002), or abandoning the idea of the designer as holding a form of authoritative knowledge. Second, recognizing contemporary digital technologies as infrastructures, which means questioning the designer/user opposition. This requires taking seriously the contexts of production and use of technology, as well as the already existing technological base (Pipek & Wulf, 2009).

Both these concepts are essential to “infrastructuring.” This concept is a direct borrowing by the design community of a concept from Science and Technology Studies (STS), in particular of the work of Susan Leigh Star and colleagues (e.g. Neumann & Star, 1996; Star & Ruhleder, 1996; Star, 1999; Star & Bowker, 2006). Their work identified the characteristics of infrastructures and the processes bringing them into existence. In infrastructuring, software designers transition away from a project-based design activity, often seen as (and encouraged by proprietary law to do so) as always starting from scratch. The new approach is to design “in the wild” (Dittrich, Eriksén, & Hansson, 2002), which meant dealing directly with the mass of already installed software applications and technological working practices (Hanseth & Lundberg, 2001).

The concept of infrastructuring contributed to another direction in the design community leveraging the constructionist approach of Lucy Suchman (1993, 2002a, 2002b). Suchman drew upon feminist theory, in particular the work of Donna Haraway (Haraway, 1988), to question the way design was done. Suchman questioned the role of authoritative knowledge, which meant conceptualizing design as an activity detached from actual work practices. She referred to this view as “design from nowhere” as opposed to being “from somewhere” (Suchman, 2002a). Design activities came to include both the entry of the professional designer into the working relations of users as well as accounting for the forms of local improvisations shaping the technology in use (Suchman, 2002b). In short, Suchman was overcoming the dichotomy “designer/user” by incorporating the actual reconfigurations of working relations that take place when introducting DTs.

The connection between these streams of thoughts in the design field becomes especially clear when an infrastructuring approach is applied to the design of large scale entities. Design becomes seen as the ensemble of activities making possible, maintaining, and redesigning digitally-mediated things (Pipek & Wulf, 2009). The concept stresses both the dynamic characteristics of infrastructures and their emerging trajectories, underlining the articulation work of all actors involved in creating the infrastructure itself.

Recently, with the emergence of large scale infrastructures outside of the workplace (e.g. social media and web-based applications in general), the infrastructuring perspective has been articulated as public design (Ehn, 2008; Le Dantec & DiSalvo, 2013; Teli & al., 2015). The connection here is to other trends in STS, attending to “matters of concern” (Latour, 2004) while also focusing on “making things public” (Weibel & Latour, 2005). Focusing on matters of concern means acknowledging that “things” are forms of gathering, assemblies within which controversies are solved. “Making things public” opens up space to examine them as part of the issues people are concerned about. These scholars then relate such issues to Dewey’s concepts of public and publics. Specifically, Di Salvo and colleagues have clarified how design can be relocated as “public design” (DiSalvo, Lukens, Lodato, Jenkins, & Kim, 2014). When these two perspectives are attended to, a society becomes understood as being constituted by many publics and groups of people interested in specific issues, and thus design can both support existing publics and participate in their formation.

2. Constructivism beyond Capital

In the context of a “Beyond Capital” (Hakken, forthcoming 2015) perspective, the discussion and promotion of public design and infrastructuring becomes particularly relevant. First, it recognizes the contestable role of technologies, dismissing any deterministic view in favor of the politicized view of technology. Second, it stresses how technology design can start with the concerns of people, as in Scandinavian Participatory Design, involving people not only in the interface with design but also in the definition of the goals of the design project [Ehn, 2008]. Third, these approaches obviate a vision of technology designers as having a god-like view, replacing this with a more situated perspective that leads to a variety of changes in how technological projects should be carried out. Most basically, the idea of the technology designer (as well as of any other intellectual in society) as somebody who is a person primarily with design (or sociology, anthropology, philosophy, etc...) skills needs to be promoted. Projects would become seen as combining the skills and needs of the main beneficiaries of the project itself with the design, intellectual, and communicative skills of the professionals involved.

Such a shift will require change in the way projects are funded, to favor open-ended, socially-based, projects over projects that presume that the answers to research and design questions are already known. Public design and infrastructuring are particularly open to another recent approach to DTs, what is called “digital social innovation”. This expression, promoted by the European Union through its research funding, encompasses “a type of social and collaborative innovation in which innovators, users and communities collaborate using digital technologies to co-create knowledge and solutions for a wide range of social needs and at a scale that was unimaginable before the rise of the Internet” (DSI, 2015: 9). Without specific measures being taken to guard against it, the practices described appear to provide space for the subsuming of collaborative practices into the processes of capital valorization, extending the ability of capital to extract value from life (Morini & Fumagalli, 2010). However, when articulated in terms of public design, digital social innovation is re-articulated as innovation that addresses societal challenges properly. This puts at the center the concerns of people and their collective ability to address issues. However, the perspective depends on integrating nuanced understandings of the capital relations in normal design practices, something that can be fostered in interdisciplinary teams that, include sociologists, anthropologists, etc. Achieving interdisciplinarity makes another institutional move necessary, restructuring the career opportunities of scholars now trapped in strictly disciplinary career paths in academia, while expanding possibilities to do effective interdisciplinary work in organizations. Such restructuring is what will make possible for scholars to engage in open-ended projects, contributing to the interdisciplinary thinking that is needed to promote a constructivist, beyond capital, perspective on technology.


Maurizio Teli's research is funded by the Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca, through the project “Città Educante”.

References and Notes

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