Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Cloudy talks: Exploring accounts about cloud computing
University of Borås, Faculty of Librarianship, Information, Education and IT.
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to discuss the character, purpose, and use of the language surrounding new technology, specifically cloud computing. The thesis is situated within library and information science. Its theoretical basis and argumentation builds upon notions articulated by Berger and Luckmann (1966), known as “the social construction of reality”, and upon conceptual metaphor theory developed by Lakoff and Johnson (2003). The thesis discusses the consequences of how cloud computing is explained and legitimised by various actors, such as cloud providers, computer scientists, IT professionals, business leaders, and strategic staff in organisations that had implemented cloud services. It builds on four articles that are based on diverse empirical materials and methods.

A starting point is that IT has been talked about as neutral and unobtrusive. Instead, the results of this thesis show that accounts about IT hide its complexity both regarding its implementation and use. Talk about computing as a utility from the 1950s and forward was surprisingly precise in predictions concerning future IT. However, rather than accepting such accounts as communicating clear insights, it can be argued that this use of language led to the legitimation and institutionalisation of certain normative ways to talk about IT. The utility metaphor could, therefore, be seen as a powerful persuasive device, guiding changes in policies and investments. In today’s promulgation of cloud technologies by Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, the four internet giants sometimes referred to as GAFA, it is possible to distinguish the extension of the utility metaphor into images of power, choice, and a transformed life, while complexity issues are considerably downplayed.

Societies, organisations, and individuals all over the world are now, more than ever before, connected to the internet through various cloud technologies. Scrutinised in the thesis are accounts about Google Apps for Education (GAFE), a suite of cloud-based apps increasingly introduced in schools in Sweden and all over the globe. These cloud services are described as free and able to fulfil various user needs. This persuasive promulgation, together with various rhetorical strategies in their privacy policies, disguises the circumstance that Google exploits user information for its own business purposes by creating algorithmic identities of users based on individual web behaviour. With customers’ utilisation, cloud providers such as Google can act powerfully from a distance. As they develop remote control through their widespread cloud technology, they can affect individuals, businesses, and society at large. In this and other ways, IT will continue to reshape communication, the way people relate to each other, and to themselves. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Borås: Högskolan i Borås, 2017. , 96 p.
Series
Skrifter från Valfrid, ISSN 1103-6990 ; 62
Keyword [en]
information management, cloud computing, cloud services, cloud technology, social constructionism, social construction of reality, conceptual metaphor theory, Google Apps for Education (GAFE), GAFA, algorithmic identities
National Category
Information Studies Communication Studies
Research subject
Library and Information Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-11178ISBN: 9789198165326 (print)ISBN: 9789198165333 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-11178DiVA: diva2:1050182
Public defence
2017-02-10, c203, Allégatan 1, Borås, 13:00
Available from: 2017-01-12 Created: 2016-11-28 Last updated: 2017-02-10Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. As a Utility – Metaphors of Information Technologies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>As a Utility – Metaphors of Information Technologies
2016 (English)In: Human IT, ISSN 1402-1501, E-ISSN 1402-151X, Vol. 13, no 2, 47-80 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Building on conceptual metaphor theory, this article investigates and argues the importance of the utility metaphor in discussions shaping information technologies. The results reveal that the utility metaphor has been evoked in different shapes and forms continually since the late fifties relating, for example, to concepts such as Time-sharing, Computer networks, The computer grid, Utility computing, and – the contemporary metaphor – Cloud computing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Borås: Högskolan i Borås, 2016
Keyword
Conceptual metaphor theory, cloud computing, perceptions, information technology, Social shaping of technology
National Category
Other Computer and Information Science Information Studies
Research subject
Library and Information Science; Bussiness and IT
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-10679 (URN)
External cooperation:
Available from: 2016-09-12 Created: 2016-09-12 Last updated: 2017-02-10Bibliographically approved
2. Pupils in the clouds: Implementation of Google Apps for Education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Pupils in the clouds: Implementation of Google Apps for Education
2016 (English)In: First Monday, ISSN 1396-0466, E-ISSN 1396-0466, Vol. 21, no 4Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The study focuses on the implications of affordances identified in Google Apps for Education (GAFE), by strategic staff within a Swedish school organisation, with responsibility for schools in around 30 municipalities. A complex picture emerged, where GAFE was perceived both as a neutral, well-functioning tool and as a means of educating in partly new ways. Furthermore, the study shows that GAFE, despite its characteristic of being a non-generative appliance, still can be used in creative ways. The implementation of cloud technology, such as GAFE, endorses a tunnel-vision affordance that downgrades more nuanced perceptions of the different technological, economical, and ethical aspects of the technology. Studying GAFE, different tensions of power emerge: Google vs. the school, IT professionals vs. teachers, management vs. teachers, teachers vs. pupils, Google vs. pupils.

Keyword
Google Apps for Education, affordance, tunnel-vision affordance, cloud computing, tethered appliances
National Category
Information Studies
Research subject
Bussiness and IT; Library and Information Science; Teacher Education and Education Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-10711 (URN)10.5210/fm.v21i4.6185 (DOI)
Projects
PhD thesis
Available from: 2016-09-16 Created: 2016-09-16 Last updated: 2017-02-10Bibliographically approved
3. Information We Collect: Surveillance and Privacy in the Implementation of Google Apps for Education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Information We Collect: Surveillance and Privacy in the Implementation of Google Apps for Education
2016 (English)In: European Educational Research Journal (online), ISSN 1474-9041, E-ISSN 1474-9041, Vol. 15, no 6, 644-663 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study is to show how Google’s business model is concealed within Google Apps forEducation (GAFE) as well as how such a bundle is perceived within one educational organisation,consisting of approximately 30 schools. The study consists of two parts: 1) a rhetorical analysisof Google policy documents and 2) an interview study in a Swedish educational organisation.By making an implicit demarcation between the two concepts (your) ‘data’ and (collected)‘information’ Google can disguise the presence of a business model for online marketing and, atthe same time, simulate the practices and ethics of a free public service institution. This makesit problematic for Swedish schools to implement Google Apps for Education, bearing in mindGoogle’s surveillance practices for making profits on pupil’s algorithmic identities. From a frontend viewpoint of Google Apps for Education, the advantages of the services are evident to theusers, and emerge in the study, whereas back end strategies are relatively hidden.

Keyword
Cloud computing, algorithmic identities, Google Apps for Education (GAFE), privacy, surveillance economy
National Category
Information Studies
Research subject
Bussiness and IT; Library and Information Science; Teacher Education and Education Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-10709 (URN)10.1177/1474904116654917 (DOI)000387459500003 ()84994078599 (Scopus ID)
Projects
PhD thesis
Note

Published online before print June 27, 2016

Available from: 2016-09-16 Created: 2016-09-16 Last updated: 2017-02-10Bibliographically approved
4. GAFA speaks: Metaphors in the promotion of cloud technology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>GAFA speaks: Metaphors in the promotion of cloud technology
2017 (English)In: Journal of Documentation, ISSN 0022-0418, E-ISSN 1758-7379, Vol. 73, no 1Article in journal (Refereed) Accepted
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The article explores persuasive rhetoric in the legitimization of cloud computing by critically scrutinizing metaphorical devices utilized by leaders of the cloud industry. This article introduces a critical approach to the promotion of cloud technology.

Design/methodology/approach: 13 video clips from YouTube.com were analysed, containing presentations and talks delivered by leaders of Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon – four of the most influential companies within the IT industry, sometimes referred to as GAFA. With the help of conceptual metaphor theory, often-repeated metaphors for cloud technologies reveal what properties were promoted and hidden.

Findings: GAFA mainly used the same persuasive metaphors to promote cloud computing’s positive aspects. Potentially negative or complex issues were mostly avoided. Implicitly, GAFA exerts power through the extensive dissemination of their metaphors and these are used in order to negotiate and overcome doubts about cloud computing and related technologies.

Originality/value: This is the first study aimed at understanding the persuasive rhetoric of GAFA, seen as a uniform object of study, in the legitimization of cloud computing.

Keyword
cloud providers, cloud technology, Conceptual metaphor theory, marketing rhetoric, GAFA
National Category
Information Studies
Research subject
Bussiness and IT; Library and Information Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-10712 (URN)
Projects
PhD thesis
Available from: 2016-09-16 Created: 2016-09-16 Last updated: 2017-02-10Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

spikblad(84 kB)75 downloads
File information
File name SPIKBLAD01.pdfFile size 84 kBChecksum SHA-512
c276a2be3513f4ec3a19104088d1afed76277cf6291231d1823277c7c0849b1079033876ef1f4f9283aafe9d4302c961266577775cd54782e37a350131ddcc0d
Type spikbladMimetype application/pdf
inside(730 kB)173 downloads
File information
File name INSIDE01.pdfFile size 730 kBChecksum SHA-512
57de26aa9e5cbde032162a20ed8531ce94f28c315b92faefe92f418da88d1ec15d8465d99a8f88a89008c291a123c2b61fab0f21d77d2b9d7e3770452175f6a9
Type insideMimetype application/pdf
cover(769 kB)37 downloads
File information
File name COVER01.pdfFile size 769 kBChecksum SHA-512
f68d9f061bad1708410f076fa8709ddd21a675bc42f59216c6d87806c7e3914562e6c928593de721a97fd40d3b498fcaf7ce5244138e76701448c9c063df4e4c
Type coverMimetype application/pdf

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Lindh, Maria
By organisation
Faculty of Librarianship, Information, Education and IT
Information StudiesCommunication Studies

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 1936 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf