The User Reconfigured: On Subjectivities of Information


  • Jeffrey Bardzell Informatics and Computing Indiana University Bloomington, IN 47408
  • Shaowen Bardzell Informatics and Computing Indiana University Bloomington, IN 47408



User, subjectivity, sexuality, theory, criticism


Foundational to HCI is the notion of “the user.” Whether a cognitive processor, social actor, consumer, or even a non- user, the user in HCI has always been as much a technical construct as actual people using systems. We explore an emerging formulation of the user—the subjectivity of in- formation—by laying out what it means and why research- ers are being drawn to it. We then use it to guide a case study of a relatively marginal use of computing—digitally mediated sexuality—to holistically explore design in rela- tion to embodiment, tactual experience, sociability, power, ideology, selfhood, and activism. We argue that subjectivi- ties of information clarifies the relationships between de- sign choices and embodied experiences, ways that designers design users and not just products, and ways to cultivate and transform, rather than merely support, human agency.


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How to Cite

Bardzell, J., & Bardzell, S. (2015). The User Reconfigured: On Subjectivities of Information. Aarhus Series on Human Centered Computing, 1(1), 12.



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