With Janet van der Linden from The Open University’s CRC, Jon Bryan and Andrew Stuart from Retrieva, I recently wrote a paper on the use of tracking devices with dogs in domestic contexts. The research found that the use of the technology influenced both humans and dogs, changing both parties in the relationship and the relationship itself. The work was nominated for Best Paper and presented at the 14th International Conference in Ubiquitous Computing (Ubicomp’12) in early September. Here are the paper’s full reference and abstract:
Mancini, C., van der Linden, J., Bryan, J., Stuart, A. (2012). Exploring Interspecies Sensemaking: Dog Tracking Semiotics and Meta-Ethnography. Proceedings ACM Ubicomp 2012, ACM Press, New York, pp. 143-152.
Abstract: The domestic use of tracking technology with pets is on the rise, yet is under-researched. We investigate how tracking practices reconfigure human-dog relationships changing both humans and dogs. We question the sensemaking mechanisms by which both humans and dogs engage in context-based meaningful exchanges via the technology’s mediation. We show how an indexical semiotic perspective could inform the development of interspecies technology. Finally, we discuss the methodological issues raised by doing research with animals and propose an interspecies semiotics which integrates animal companions and animal researchers’ accounts into ethnographic observation.