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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

On approaches to the study of social issues in computing


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This paper identifies and analyzes technical and nontechnical biases in research on social issues in computing. Five positions—technicism, progressive individualism, elitism, pluralism, and radical criticism—which reflect major streams of contemporary social thought are examined. The analysis of positions documents the close relationship between research and policy formation and reveals the misleading and dangerous character of the presumption of scholarly objectivity in research on social issues.

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