Contributing, But Not Belonging: Lab apps and the politics of exclusion from communities of expertise

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The idea of instantly and efficiently sharing data amongst scientists has been promoted by Lab Management Apps (LMAs). These apps promise to recreate an idealisedface-to-facecommunity of interaction,allowing(1) moreefficient communication, and(2) virtual extension ofthe community.Against the background of this idealised image of knowledge sharing, I present ethnographic research that examines how lab members perform careful community management, to maintain the specific image of community defined by the LMA. Lab members allowed non-scientists to contribute to theirresearchnetworkbut not to jointhe imagined/imposed community. I argue thatthe politics of exclusion must be questionedin such cases.Writing an app for an imagined scientific community requires processes of in/exclusion to be codified, which can be disruptive to the community. At the same time, this can be a critically productive process that makes visible inequities that have otherwise been ideologically suppressed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016
EventMECCSA Annual Conference 2016 - Canterbury Christchurch University, Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Jan 201610 Jul 2019


ConferenceMECCSA Annual Conference 2016
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityCanterbury, Kent


  • ethnography
  • lab apps
  • media
  • Technology
  • community
  • communication


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