Course info

Course goal

Course develops skills to understand the political impacts of information and communication technologies. The goal is explore political human-computer interaction and explore what social scientists, political scientists and human computer interaction scholars know about political nature of technologies.

The thematic focus of the course changes every year.

2020 the focus is on political ideologies in information system design and deployment and we use ideologies and different perspectives on democracy and state to discuss and engage the literature. Lecturers 3-6 focus on different contexts where politics might be seen in the context of technology.

Asssessment of the course

We agree the assessment criteria

  • Please return your proposal on what you want to learn in the class (max 200 words) by October 30th, 16:00 to Moodle.
  • Based on discussion, we evolve these into evaluation criteria during the week of 2.11.-6.11.

Course info

Course syllabus

Lecure 1: Foundations and contexts

Choose 1:

  • Winner, Langdon. 1985. “Do Artifacts Have Politics?” In The Social Shaping of Technology, edited by Donald MacKenzie and Judy Wajcman, 26–38. Buckingham: Open University Press.
  • Nissenbaum, Helen. 2005. “Values in Technical Design.” In Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics, edited by Carl Mitcham, lxvi–lxx. New York: MacMillan.

Choose 1:

  • Muller, Michael J. 2007. “Participatory Design.” In Human-Computer Interaction, edited by Andrew Sears and Julie A. Jacko. CRC Press.
  • Bødker, Susanne. 2006. “When Second Wave HCI Meets Third Wave Challenges.” In Proceedings of the 4th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Changing Roles, 14–18.

Choose 1:

  • Hall, Kira. "Cyberfeminism."
  • Becker, T. (2001). Rating the Impact of New Technologies on Democracy. Communications of the ACM, 44(1), 39–43.

Everyone reads:

  • Nelimarkka, Matti (manuscript): Politics and Democracy at SIGCHI conferences. A Thematic and Community Analysis. see manuscript

Lecture 2: Lenses

  • Heywood, Andrew: Political Ideologies, An Introduction. Chapters 1 and Conclusion.
  • Hey Colin et al. (ed). The State. Theories and Issues. Chapter 1 and Conclusions

Choose 1:

  • Held, David: Models of Democracy. Introduction
  • Dahlberg, L. (2011). Re-constructing Digital Democracy: An Outline of Four “Positions.” New Media & Society, 13(6), 855–872.

Lecture 3: Governments, Representations and Citizens

  • McDonald, Samantha, and Melissa Mazmanian. 2019. “Information Materialities of Citizen Communication in the U.S. Congress.” Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction 3 (CSCW).
  • Hemphill, Libby, and Andrew J. Roback. 2014. “Tweet Acts: How Constituents Lobby Congress via Twitter.” In Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing - CSCW ’14, 1200–1210. New York, New York, USA: ACM Press.
  • Liste, Lucía, and Knut H Sørensen. 2015. “Consumer, Client or Citizen? How Norwegian Local Governments Domesticate Website Technology and Configure Their Users.” Information, Communication & Society 18 (7): 733–46.
  • Stromer-Galley, J. (2000). On-line interaction and why candidates avoid it. Journal of Communication, 50(4), 111–132.

Specal guest lecture Sam McDonald, UC Irvine

Lecture 4: Publics and social movements

  • Disalvo, Carl. 2009. “Design and the Construction of Publics.” Design Issues, 48–63.
  • Asad, Mariam, and Christopher a. Le Dantec. 2015. “Illegitimate Civic Participation.” Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing - CSCW ’15, 1694–1703.
  • Erete, Sheena L. 2015. “Engaging Around Neighborhood Issues.” In Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing - CSCW ’15, 1590–1601.
  • Wright, S. (2012). From third place to third space: Everyday political talk in non-political online spaces. Javnost -- the Public, 19(3), 5–20. Retrieved from

Lecture 5: Democratic Innovations and Participation

  • Nelimarkka, Matti. 2019. “A Review of Research on Participation in Democratic Decision-Making Presented at SIGCHI Conferences. Toward an Improved Trading Zone Between Political Science and HCI.” Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction 3 (CSCW): 1–29.
  • Chadwick, Andrew, and Christopher May. 2003. “Interaction between States and Citizens in the Age of the Internet: ‘E-Government’ in the United States, Britain, and the European Union.” Governance 16 (2): 271–300.
  • Wright, S. (2012). Assessing (e-)Democratic Innovations. Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 9(4), 453–470.

Lecture 6: Critical accounts

  • Keyes, Os, Josephine Hoy, and Margaret Drouhard. 2019. “Human-Computer Insurrection.” Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - CHI ’19, 1–13.
  • Bardzell, S., & Bardzell, J. (2011, May). Towards a feminist HCI methodology: social science, feminism, and HCI. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems (pp. 675-684).
  • Dosono, B., & Semaan, B. (2019, May). Moderation practices as emotional labor in sustaining online communities: The case of AAPI identity work on Reddit. In Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1-13).

Read two one:

  • Matamoros-Fernández, A. (2017). Platformed racism: the mediation and circulation of an Australian race-based controversy on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Information, Communication & Society, 20(6), 930–946.
  • Keyes, O., Hutson, J., & Durbin, M. (2019). A Mulching Proposal, 1–11.
  • Fox, S. E., Sobel, K., & Rosner, D. K. (2019, May). Managerial Visions: stories of upgrading and maintaining the public restroom with IoT. In Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1-15).

Special quest lecture Bryan Semaan, Syracuse (cancelled)

Lecture 7: Synthesis and Future outlook


  • Larson, Christina. 2018. “Who Needs Democracy When You Have Data?” MIT Technology Review, 2018.

Design as an approach

  • Lupton, Deborah. 2018. “Towards Design Sociology.” Sociology Compass 12 (1): 1–11.
  • Fallman, D. (2008). The Interaction Design Research Triangle of Design Practice, Design Studies, and Design Exploration. Design Issues, 24(3), 4–18.
  • Borning, A., & Muller, M. (2012). Next steps for value sensitive design. Proceedings of the 2012 ACM Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - CHI ’12, 1125–1134.
  • Stanfill, M. (2015). The Interface as Discourse: The Production of Norms through Web Design. New Media & Society, 17(7), 1059–1074.

Additional materials

  • Friedman, B., Kahn, P. H., & Borning, A. (2009). Value Sensitive Design and Information Systems. In The Handbook of Information and Computer Ethics (pp. 69–101). Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Sukumaran, A., Vezich, S., McHugh, M., & Nass, C. (2011). Normative influences on thoughtful online participation. In Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 3401–3410). New York, New York, USA: ACM Press.

Beyond human-computer interaction

  • Alkhatib, Ali, and Michael Bernstein. 2019. “Street-Level Algorithms.” In Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - CHI ’19, 1–13. New York, New York, USA: ACM Press.
  • Jansson, Gabriella, and Gissur Ó Erlingsson. 2014. “More E-Government, Less Street-Level Bureaucracy? On Legitimacy and the Human Side of Public Administration.” Journal of Information Technology & Politics 11 (3): 291–308.
  • Grudin, J. (1994). Groupware and Social Dynamics: Eight Challenges for Developers. Communications of the ACM, 37(1), 92–105.

HCI as a discipline

  • Oulasvirta, A., & Hornbæk, K. (2016). HCI Research as Problem-Solving. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - CHI ’16 (pp. 4956–4967). New York, New York, USA: ACM Press.
  • Hornbæk, K., Mottelson, A., Knibbe, J., & Vogel, D. (2019). What Do We Mean by “Interaction”? An Analysis of 35 Years of CHI. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 26(4), 1–30.
  • I Can’t Breathe: Reflections from Black Women in CSCW & HCI (I think the paper is not out yet, but it was presented in the most recent CSCW)