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Inalienability: understanding digital gifts

Spence, Jocelyn

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Abstract

This paper takes on one of the rarely articulated yet important questions pertaining to digital media objects: how do HCI and design researchers understand 'gifting' when the object can just as easily be 'shared'? This question has often been implied and occasionally answered, though only partially. We propose the concept of 'inalienability', taken from the gifting literature, as a useful theory for clarifying what design researchers mean by gifting in a digital context. We apply 'inalienability' to three papers from the ACM Digital Library and one ongoing project, spanning nearly two decades of HCI and design research, that combine 'gifting and 'shar-ing' in their frameworks. In this way we show how applying the concept of 'inalienability' can clarify behaviours that mark gifting as a unique activity, frame research questions around gifting and sharing, outline specific next steps for gifting research, and suggest design strategies in this area. CCS CONCEPTS • Human-centered computing → Interaction design theory, concepts and paradigms.

Start Date May 4, 2019
Publication Date May 4, 2019
Journal CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Proceedings (CHI 2019)
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Book Title CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Proceedings (CHI 2019), May 4–9, 2019, Glasgow, UK
DOI https://doi.org/10.1145/3290605.+3300887
Keywords gifting; inalienability; sharing; strong concepts
Additional Information © 2019 Copyright held by the owner/author(s). Publication rights licensed to ACM.
This is the author’s version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive Version of Record was published in CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Proceedings (CHI 2019), May 4–9, 2019, Glasgow, Scotland Uk, https://doi.org/10.1145/3290605. 3300887.

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