From Foosball Table to Beer Crate – Ordering Everyday Worklife in an Internet Agency

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 8:40 AM
Room: 423
Oral Presentation
Diana LENGERSDORF , Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
Internet advertising agencies are production oriented service companies who mainly develop software applications for their customers, like advertising banner or homepages. They are an instructive example for new forms of organizing working processes in an exceedingly complex working field. By bringing in empirical data from an ethnographic study I will show that in spite of this complexity, employees are able to finish their work successfully. This is possible because of practices of differentiating. The focus of the talk is on the involvement of things into these practices and of a special configuration these practices carried out: masculine software developer.

The argumentation will begin with introducing theories of practices as an instructive theoretical “tool” to analyze organization and materiality, secondly basic points of the conducted ethnography will be presented, following by empirical material from the field. I will show how crates of beer and a foosball table are important parts of the practices that carried out software developer and how these practices are interlinked with practices of doing masculinity. The so produced configuration can be described as a main agent in the field – in addition to account and creative. I will conclude that the ongoing practices of differentiating, e.g. differentiating the software developers from the creatives, “guarantees” the social order in the observed field.