Resilience through technology adoption: merging the old and the new in Iraq
Publication Year: 2009
Journal: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Citizen response to disaster has begun to receive attention in the CHI community but little attention has so far been given to how citizens use technology to adapt when their country is at war. We report on an ethnographic interview study of how technology was adopted and used by citizens to be resilient during wartime. We interviewed 45 Iraqi citizens experiencing the current Iraq war. Based on our data we identified properties of resilience: reconfiguring social networks, self-organization, redundancy, proactive practices, and repairing trust in information. Technology supported people in being resilient by enabling them to control identity, to collaborate in travel, to create an organizational memory, and to provide alternative sources of news and information. As people adopted and used technology to be resilient we found a merging of old and new cultural practices. We discuss these systemic changes and describe implications for how technology can support people in being resilient in disrupted environments.