The Use of Anthropology in Information Technology



The practice of anthropology is a potentially useful one in the information technology field because the problems of that field are problems of description and definition of complex social practices (both material and cognitive). The application of other disciplinary approaches to the problems of task and organization description often yield too “thin” or too focused a rendition, and sometimes an inappropriate or suboptimal system or product. Yet the anthropologist working in the corporate cotext is just as subject to the political pressures and the battle of ideas as anyone else. The usefulness of anthropology has to be assessed in terms of actions taken and people convinced as the result of anthropological applications.