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The three-dimensional Evolution of Human Work: Some Methodological Consequences for Social and Historical Research


Geser, H (2011). The three-dimensional Evolution of Human Work: Some Methodological Consequences for Social and Historical Research. In: 42th Annual Conference of the International Association of Labour History Institutions (IALHI) , Bonn, 7 September 2011 - 10 September 2011, 1-10.

Abstract

The threefold evolutions of human work in the technological, social and cybernetic dimensions all contribute to the same
two major epistemological and methodological consequences: 1) First Order problems result fro the increasing dificulty of
interpreting any historical remains and data (artifacts, texts, figures, pictures, videos, software programs and everything
else) because ever more contextual information has to be added in order to understand what such data effectively mean.
This demands a shift from “atomistic” to “holistic-systemic” perspectives insofar as the knowledge about very encompassing
technological and social systems is decisive whether and to what extent the meaning and function of lower-order objects or
processes can be identified. 2) Second Order order epistemological problems arise from the fact that are themselves confronted
with the same cognitive complexities as any outside observers who do social research. Future researchers will have
extreme difficulties to reconstruct the cognitive mind set of past actors, because no adequate and consensual subjective
perceptions and interpretations can be assumed.

Abstract

The threefold evolutions of human work in the technological, social and cybernetic dimensions all contribute to the same
two major epistemological and methodological consequences: 1) First Order problems result fro the increasing dificulty of
interpreting any historical remains and data (artifacts, texts, figures, pictures, videos, software programs and everything
else) because ever more contextual information has to be added in order to understand what such data effectively mean.
This demands a shift from “atomistic” to “holistic-systemic” perspectives insofar as the knowledge about very encompassing
technological and social systems is decisive whether and to what extent the meaning and function of lower-order objects or
processes can be identified. 2) Second Order order epistemological problems arise from the fact that are themselves confronted
with the same cognitive complexities as any outside observers who do social research. Future researchers will have
extreme difficulties to reconstruct the cognitive mind set of past actors, because no adequate and consensual subjective
perceptions and interpretations can be assumed.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture), not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Sociology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Language:English
Event End Date:10 September 2011
Deposited On:20 Sep 2011 12:19
Last Modified:26 Jan 2017 08:49
Series Name:Sociology in Switzerland: Work and Organization. Online Publications.
Number:8
Related URLs:http://www.ialhi.org/conferences.php
http://socio.ch/arbeit/t_hgeser8.pdf

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