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Multilayered installation design: a framework for analysis and design of complex social events, illustrated by an analysis of virtual conferencing

Lahlou, Saadi ORCID: 0000-0001-8114-7271, Heitmayer, Maxi, Pea, Roy, Russell, Martha G., Schimmelpfennig, Robin, Yamin, Paulius, Dawes, Adelaide P., Babcock, Benjamin, Kamiya, Kazumitsu, Krejci, Kevin, Suzuki, Takafumi and Yamada, Ryota (2022) Multilayered installation design: a framework for analysis and design of complex social events, illustrated by an analysis of virtual conferencing. Social Sciences & Humanities Open, 6 (1). ISSN 2590-2911

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.ssaho.2022.100310


Humans are social animals living in societies with most of their activities occurring in social settings, characterized by multiple actors, the crossing of individual behavioral paths, interactions between participants themselves and between participants and material (or immaterial) setting components. We theorize that virtual conferences, like physical ones, have a dual-space structure where the two types of activities (content transfer and social intercourse) intertwine. Understanding what happens in such complex social events requires minutely analyzing this complex intertwined structure of components and events. This analysis is even more necessary when one wants to intervene in such settings, for example when designing supports or attempting to change behavior. Nevertheless, most methods of data collection and analysis are either centered on methodological individualism, looking at aggregates at macro or meso level, or looking in detail at only some aspects of the whole event (e.g., conversation analysis). The paper offers, while illustrating with actual data, a Multilayered Installation Design (MID) method that facilitates focus upon the various perspectives of subjects, combines them into a single framework of Installations for activity that describes the setting in a systematic and structured way, and offers directions for design or intervention. This paper (1) briefly situates the nature of the problem and some gaps in the current methodological landscape; (2) contextualizes the main theories underlying the MID method — Activity Theory and Installation Theory; (3) describes the new method per se; (4) illustrates the method on a specific case, the analysis of a conference in a virtual space; and (5, 6) lists some issues and limitations as well as future orientations. Conceptualizing issues with the help of Installation Theory informs a structured and goal-oriented approach to design that improves on the usual design thinking approach by providing a robust analytic and idea-generating framework.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2022 08:21
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2022 23:21

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