Affordance Lost, Affordance Regained, and Affordance Surrendered

Publication Type:

IFIP Paper


Beyond Interpretivism? New Encounters with Technology and Organization, Springer International Publishing, Cham, p.73–89 (2016)




Informed by the ontology of becoming, this study explores technological affordances in the context of use of social media technologies where multiple human and material agents interact without necessarily being co-present. In such scenarios, tracing the relational configuration of social and material agents becomes a challenge. So far, extant literature based on the ontology of becoming has only considered the actualization of affordances in the proximal co-presence of other people and objects. Extending this understanding of affordances by using actor-network theory (ANT) as a methodological and conceptual device, this research traces translations of the ``distant'' in the form of inscriptions that can travel across space and time. This study points towards the utility of using ANT, over other interpretive methods, as a tool to study complex technological phenomena. It shows that affordances are collective, ongoing accomplishments of diverse actors, some co-present physically and others, though distant, co-present through translated representations.