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Understanding People and Animals: The Use of a Positioning System in Ordinary Human-Canine Interaction

Journal article
Authors Alexandra Weilenmann
Oskar Juhlin
Published in Proceedings of the 29th international conference on Human factors in computing systems
Publication year 2011
Published at The Linnaeus Centre for Research on Learning, Interaction, and Mediated Communication in Contemporary Society (LinCS)
Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Language en
Keywords Mobilitet, GPS, mobil teknik, jakt, hundar, människa-djurinteraktion, konversationsanalys, etnometodologi.
Subject categories Other information technology, Communication Studies, Technology and social change


Animals are increasingly integrated in interactive contexts depending on digital technologies. The current and future use of such technologies is a relevant topic for HCI research. However, the field is struggling with the inherent problem of ‘interaction’ in understanding interaction with animals. We argue for a way forward based on an ethnomethodological perspective on anthropomorphism, with a focus on manifest interaction. Drawing upon a field study of hunters’ use of a GPS dog tracking-device, we discuss how interaction between dogs and humans is affected when new technology is introduced. The GPS data is situated and interpreted by the dog handler, and supports the hunter’s work of dealing with the dogs’ intentions. This opens up for new forms of interactions with the dog. When studying and designing for interaction between humans and animals we should move beyond merely looking at dyadic relationships, and also consider the social organization of the interaction.

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