From Object-Oriented to Fluid Ontology: a Case Study of the Materiality of Design Work in Agile Software Development
In much of extant research on design cooperation, design materials are approached from noun-oriented ontologies and social topologies where the notion of ‘object’ is central. There is a long history of critique concerning such ontologies, most recently coming from the anthropology of making , because they are failing to capture the dynamic and fluid aspects that characterize the living, constantly changing world that we inhabit. Though often recognized, the implications these critiques have for design cooperation research and practice have been drawn only to a limited extent. In this study, we discuss and empirically examine such implications by adopting a fluid ontology in the analysis of design cooperation. We use data from design conversations in a firm that practices extreme programming, a form of agile software development, to exhibit what theorizing design activity in terms of fluid things, fluid spaces, and continuity has to offer to practitioners and analysts.