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Removal as a Method: A Fourth Wave HCI Approach to Understanding the Experience of Self-Tracking

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This paper offers first-steps guidance towards the development of a methodology that embodies theoretical proposals for a fourth-wave, 'entanglement' approach to HCI. We propose the removal of technologies and the documenting of their absence as a method. Removal disrupts habitual relationships with our everyday technologies, revealing otherwise hidden knowledges. Removal as a method exemplifies that "you don't know what you've got till it's gone". We apply removal to the case of menstrual cycle tracking in two ways: literally through two autoethnographies, and hypothetically through semi-structured interviews. We show how this method especially facilitates emotional, embodied and cultural knowledge of the lived experience of self-tracking and we unpack some opportunities, implications and limitations in its use. Finally, we present how this method might be adopted by others and propose cases in which removal as a method might be applicable to study of a wider range of technologies beyond self-tracking.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDIS '20: Proceedings of the 2020 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date3 Jul 2020
Pages1779–1791
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2020

ID: 85231559