Showing posts from January, 2021

Is a gun a gun when no one pulls its trigger? Reflections on the Endnote from Orlikowski 2000, Org Science.

 This is the paper to which I am referring in this post. Orlikowski, W. J. (2000). Using technology and constituting structures: A practice lens for studying technology in organizations.  Organization science ,  11 (4), 404-428. In the endnote of this paper, Orlikowski recounts an interaction with one of the anonymous referees for the paper where the question from the title of this post is posed. Orlikowski asserts that recognition of an object as a gun is culturally specific, members of a society in which nobody has ever used a gun would have no basis for recognizing an object as a gun. She poses a remote tribe in the Kalahari as an example. Knowledge of an object, she contends, comes primarily from its use.  This got me thinking about objects about which society primarily possesses knowledge derived not from use, rather from designs, specifications, manuals, and other texts.  Orlikowski refers to technological artifacts, and I'll take that as a cue to focus on such technological

Abhivadaye: Lineage in knowledge produced by communities of experts

This is how I count things.  Its weird, I know. I count in base 12. I never gave it much thought before. I was wondering about it this past weekend so I asked my Dad about it during our weekend call. He said it was how Tamil Brahmins are taught to count off their chants. I must have retained it from when I was taught the Sandhyavandanam as a kid. There is a vedic tradition in some communities in south India- that of the elaborate self-introduction. This is called the  abhivadaye  (uh-bhee-VAA-da-yay). In it, in addition to your name, parent's name, and class signifiers, you also declare your scholarly clan, and chosen significant texts. I was taught how to introduce myself like this. In the abhivadaye I see the evidence of interactions between social and semantic structures, and how they produce each other. If there's a single antecedent to my interests in this line of inquiry, it is my meditations on the practice of abhivadaye.    Better scholars than me have thought about t