Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems


Whereas ethnography has been identified as an important method for developing situated IT for specific workplaces, its political pertinence and fuzzy practice have been underexposed. In this paper, I challenge the idea that ethnography leads to ‘better’ technology. In this context ‘better’ is often seen as ‘more appropriate for a workplace’. However, I will show on the basis of fieldwork in a hemophilia care center (HCC) of a Dutch university hospital, that  this workplace is, and therefore what technology is desired, is equivocal. I will also show that ‘doing fieldwork’ cannot be separated from ‘informing design’ or ‘intervening’. ‘Intervention’ is a subtle, layered concept and a continuous activity. Based on these insights an emerging interventionist approach is outlined that is geared towards interweaving fieldwork and informing IT design in an intentionally ad-hoc and nonsequential way. My aim with this approach is to sensitize the fieldworker to the located and strategic multiplicity of a site, to the data that can be found in roles that are being ascribed by various actors resulting from their ‘view from somewhere’, and to the action space that is constantly emerging and changing in an interventionist research project. The approach should lead to Sensitized interventions based upon politicized ethnography.