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Coming to act with tables in engineering: Mapping the ontogenesis of social action across time, space, and representational media

3.5 Unit of analysis: historicity, context, and levels of analytic scale
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
3:00 PM, Thursday 31 Aug 2017 (30 minutes)
Afternoon Refreshments   03:30 PM to 03:50 PM (20 minutes)
Roozen argues that re-use and semiotic remediation across engagements plays a central role in the development of social action. Informed by theoretical perspectives that emphasize the historical trajectories of practices across heterogeneous times, places, and representational media (Hutchins, 1995; Scollon, 2001, 2008; Prior, 1998; Prior & Hengst, 2010; Wertsch, 1991, 1998), he presents a case study of one undergraduate engineering major, Alexandra, that includes three years of semi-structured and text-based interviews, ethnographic observations, and a collection of texts and artifacts that reach back to her early childhood. His analysis argues that Alexandra’s ability to act with tables, charts, and other inscriptions in ways valued by engineers is mediated by her use of tables for a number of other engagements, including playing video games, creating schedules for daily activities, inventing and arranging fan novels, and solving puzzles. In addition to illuminating the laminated assemblage (Prior & Schaffner, 2011) of engagements that come to shape the participant’s use of tables as an engineer in the making, the analysis also makes visible the crucial role laminated trajectories of humantool withs play in the ongoing production of practices and identities.
University of Central Florida