Incidental and essential objects in interaction

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A large body of work points to the special status of paper documents in the ecology of objects in the workplace. In this chapter, we revisit this work, focusing on the role of paper in the everyday work of journalists. We examine three quite different empirical examples where paper documents feature in interaction, supporting, in turn, the structuring of conversation, collaboration and inter-organisational interaction. Based on these examples we argue for a distinction between object-focused interactions and object-implicating interactions. In addition, and related to the dual nature of documents being both material objects and carriers of information, we identify an analytic dimension along which interactions with objects can be placed, that from incidental to essential.


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