Response to T on Forensics

A general conversation that suggested an interest in field work, what I call directed nosiness – T thought this was a kind of forensics. So I went to look up forensics to see what I could see, and found this which I sent to T:

n. (used with a sing. verb)

1. The art or study of formal debate; argumentation.
2. The use of science and technology to investigate and establish facts in criminal or civil courts of law.

The first definition was a real surprise, I see my work as argumentation in its textual and summary form but not the study of that form itself.

I was more intrigued by the second definition, as I figured forensics to be closely associated with dead bodies, laboratories and murder cases. Which of course is a specific interpretation of the second definition. But there is a broader way to think about it obviously, as T pointed out in her initial enquiry.

So I do an archaeology of people’s things, a kind of activity forensics, looking at how people navigate, locomote through their daily lives, how they get things done that they want done and what they use along the way. The touch to forensics is that I use scientific methods (broadly speaking, social science methods in particular, and there is debate about hwo sceintific that actually is, but lets not go down that rat hole) to establish hoe people conduct their lives> I use technologies and study technologies in use. The technologies I use are pen/pencil and paper, camera, video camera and audio recorders. The so called capture technologies. I study any form of technology and enjoy debates about what constitutes a technology in any case. Again there are definitions and ideas in here that are of inetrest but not on track for this stream of consciousness.

My work is also not connected to the criminal or civil courts of law, not tied to the law at all. But it could be. The techniques are easily applicable to demosntrating how something may or may not fulfill its intended function whcih could of course lead to data to be used in a court case.

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