Technology-Centric Contestation over Symbolic and Social Boundaries: The Social Justice Implications of COVID-19 Contact Tracing Technologies



Information Systems (IS) can amplify or reduce social justice by limiting or expanding access to material and non-material resources. Using the lens of symbolic and social boundaries, we focus on the role of cultural discourse in demarcating and contesting boundaries associated with IS design and adoption. We examine news media-based journalistic discourse surrounding contact tracing systems implemented in South Korea and Singapore during the COVID-19 pandemic to develop a process model of technology-centric contestation. We found that public contestation over competing societal values, including public health, individual rights, and social justice, influenced how contact tracing systems were adopted and redesigned. Through the (re)design and adoption actions, symbolic and social boundaries were demarcated and contested. Our study illustrates the critical role of news media in counteracting the consequences of IS design and adoption decisions that limit access to resources for marginalized social groups.

This seminar will take place in room T09-67, Mandeville Building. Alternatively, click here to join this seminar online via Zoom.