Empowering the users? A critical textual analysis of the role of users in open source software development

AI and Society 23 (4):511-528 (2009)

Abstract
This paper outlines a critical, textual approach for the analysis of the relationship between different actors in information technology (IT) production, and further concretizes the approach in the analysis of the role of users in the open source software (OSS) development literature. Central concepts of the approach are outlined. The role of users is conceptualized as reader involvement aiming to contribute to the configuration of the reader (to how users and the parameters for their work practices are defined in OSS texts). Afterwards, OSS literature addressing reader involvement is critically reviewed. In OSS context, the OSS writers as readers configure the reader and other readers are assumed to be capable of and interested in commenting the texts. A lack of OSS research on non-technical reader involvement is identified. Furthermore, not only are the OSS readers configured, but so are OSS writers. In OSS context while writers may be empowered, this clearly does not apply to the non-technical OSS readers. Implication for research and practice are discussed
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DOI 10.1007/s00146-008-0182-1
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The Social Construction of What?Ian Hacking - 1999 - Harvard University Press.

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