Towards a Conceptualization of Sociomaterial Entanglement

In Henning Christiansen, Isidora Stojanovic & George A. Papadopoulos (eds.), Modeling and Using Context. 9th International and Interdisciplinary Conference, Context 2015. Springer. pp. 32--46 (2015)
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In knowledge representation, socio-technical systems can be modeled as multiagent systems in which the local knowledge of each individual agent can be seen as a context. In this paper we propose formal ontologies as a means to describe the assumptions driving the construction of contexts as local theories and to enable interoperability among them. In particular, we present two alternative conceptualizations of the notion of sociomateriality (and entanglement), which is central in the recent debates on socio-technical systems in the social sciences, namely critical and agential realism. We thus start by providing a model of entanglement according to the critical realist view, representing it as a property of objects that are essentially dependent on different modules of an already given ontology. We refine then our treatment by proposing a taxonomy of sociomaterial entanglements that distinguishes between ontological and epistemological entanglement. In the final section, we discuss the second perspective, which is more challenging form the point of view of knowledge representation, and we show that the very distinction of information into modules can be at least in principle built out of the assumption of an entangled reality.
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