Pencils, Legos, and Guns: A Study of Artifacts Used in Architecture

Carole Groleau and Christiane Demers

in Materiality and Organizing

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199664054
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745423 | DOI:
Pencils, Legos, and Guns: A Study of Artifacts Used in Architecture

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Drawing on activity theory, this chapter conducts a comparative analysis involving the use of artifacts in concept development, among architects, based on data presented by Elke Krasny (2008). Artifacts carry with them historically grounded means and methods (Engeström, 1987) that provide organizational members with various potential avenues to act upon their context. The analysis reveals that, beyond their particular characteristics, material artifacts are associated with various social configurations involving different types of negotiation among participants taking part in the design process. The results allow us to frame sociomateriality, beyond the actual context in which activity unfolds, and to see how contextualized practices actualize or challenge different socio-historical traditions coexisting within a particular professional group.

Keywords: activity theory; architecture; situated practice; institutionalized practice; materiality

Chapter.  11294 words. 

Subjects: Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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