Geopolitical Issues in Human Computer Interaction

This IFIP WG 13.8 workshop on Geopolitical Issues in Human Computer Interaction will take place preceding INTERACT2021, in Bari, Italy, on 30 August 2021. Online attendance will also be allowed.

This workshop will explore and discuss geopolitical issues in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) as a field of knowledge and practice. These issues are mainly seen at two levels: (1) on discourses surrounding motivations and value of HCI as a sociotechnical field, and (2) on discourses surrounding concepts of HCI diffusion, maturity and diversity as articulated by global and local knowledge networks. Since the beginning of HCI, discussions of democracy have been around. It may even be fair to say that the key notion of usability aims to support the citizens of a democratic society. Obviously, exactly how HCI should do this remains open for discussion. HCI has several roots deep in military needs from the world wars of the 20th century. It was also born out of the sociotechnical traditions with its emancipatory ambitions, aiming at creating conditions for supporting human agency that facilitates the realization of people’s needs and potential. There is an inherent contradiction between these traditions. Thus, we are interested in exploring the following question: How military power and emancipatory ambitions are related in a geopolitical analysis of HCI research? Moreover, the diffusion of HCI as field of knowledge and practice is dominated by political and post-colonial discourses that pervade local and global knowledge networks shaping what is considered useful and relevant research and practice. In this workshop we understand these issues as geopolitical in nature and aim to trace the cultural and sociotechnical dynamics that construct the field of HCI.

The target audience for the workshop is researchers and practitioners working to support and develop the research, practice and education capabilities of HCI in institutions and organisations based around the world taking into account their diverse local needs and cultural perspectives; to promote application of interaction design research, practice and education to address the needs, desires and aspirations of people across the developing world; to research and promote interaction design practice in cross-cultural settings, with a special focus on new and emerging economies; to develop links between the HCI community in general and other relevant communities involved in international development and cross-cultural aspects of ICT development.

Topics of Interest

The relevant topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Geopolitical nature of HCI
  • Political and post-colonial discourses in diffusion of HCI field of knowledge and practice
  • HCI roots in military needs
  • HCI roots in sociotechnical emancipatory ambitions
  • Evidence of interactions between political models and HCI diffusion
Workshop Objectives

In this workshop we understand the above issues as geopolitical in nature and aim to trace the cultural and political dynamics that construct the field of HCI. More concretely, we will pursue the following objectives:

  • To help develop a frame of understanding of geopolitical issues in HCI.
  • To collect examples and experiences that show political discourses shaping HCI’s motivations and values.
  • To collect examples and experiences of HCI diffusion, maturity and diversity as articulated by global and local knowledge networks.
  • To formulate a research agenda for future work on geopolitical research on HCI.
Expected Outcomes

The workshop will produce a research agenda for studying geopolitical issues through a HCI lens, and how best to understand and analyze them. The aim with this research agenda is to stimulate further research interest and provide direction for critical research on HCI. In addition, extended versions of the workshop papers will be published by Springer in the LNCS series as a volume collecting papers from the INTERACT2021 workshops. A special issue in a renowned HCI journal is also being planned. This will be confirmed in this website.

Submission Procedure

Please submit your position paper of four pages in the INTERACT 2021 proceedings format to Jose Abdelnour-Nocera at abdejos[at]

Deadline: 1st of June 2021

Notification of Acceptance: 8th of June 2021

Each submission will be reviewed by two reviewers from the larger IFIP TC13.8 community. Participation in the workshop requires an accepted position paper.

Organizing Committee

José Abdelnour Nocera, University of West London, United Kingdom and ITI/Larsys, Portugal.

Torkil Clemmensen, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark.

Anirudha Joshi, IIT Bombay, Industrial Design Centre, Mumbai, India

Zhengjie Liu, Sino-European Usability Center, Dalian Maritime University, China

Judy van Biljon, University of South Africa, School of Computing, Pretoria, South Africa

Xiangang Qin, Beijing University of Posts & Telecommunications, China

Isabela Gasparini, UDESC, Department of Computer Science, Joinville, SC, Brazil

Leonardo Parra-Agudelo, University of los Andes, Department of Design, Bogota, Colombia