Abstract - The Information Society 31(2)

Epistemic Objects and Embeddedness: Knowledge Construction and Narratives in Research Networks of Practice

Emad Khazraee and Susan Gasson

In this paper, we explore the meanings of objectual practice that are revealed by examining embedded information structures and performativity. We conceptualize a network of practice as a nexus of interconnected practice, formed around materially-mediated interdependencies across communities of practice. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork of archaeology research, conducted across multiple research disciplines and communities of practice, we identify the material components of embedded information and explicate the processes by which objectual and social practices shape the adoption of theories across the network, creating knowledge-in-practice. We conceptualize knowledge construction as a product of the constant tension between contextualization and decontextualization (embeddedness and disembeddedness). Our findings demonstrate the mechanisms by which exploratory interactions with the information embedded in things (research objects) produce breakdowns that reveal inconsistencies within current theories.


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