Article ID: CBB179730775

Theorizing Affordances: From Request to Refuse (2016)


As a concept, affordance is integral to scholarly analysis across multiple fields—including media studies, science and technology studies, communication studies, ecological psychology, and design studies among others. Critics, however, rightly point to the following shortcomings: definitional confusion, a false binary in which artifacts either afford or do not, and failure to account for diverse subject-artifact relations. Addressing these critiques, this article demarcates the mechanisms of affordance—as artifacts request, demand, allow, encourage, discourage, and refuse—which take shape through interrelated conditions: perception, dexterity, and cultural and institutional legitimacy. Together, the mechanisms and conditions constitute a dynamic and structurally situated model that addresses how artifacts afford, for whom and under what circumstances.

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Authors & Contributors
Yuanzhi Li
Con Diaz, Gerardo
Derui Tan
Kohlrausch, Martin
Fangtao Zhang
Mingwu Zhang
Technology and Culture
Chinese Annals of History of Science and Technology
IA. The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology
Ziran Kexueshi Yanjiu (Studies in the History of Natural Sciences)
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Palgrave Macmillan
Cambridge University Press
Yale University
American Psychological Association
Social sciences
Anthropology, prehistoric
Merton, Robert K.
Weber, Max
Johnson, Samuel
Time Periods
20th century
20th century, late
Stone age
20th century, early
19th century
United States
Middle and Near East
Papua New Guinea
Xinjiang Region (China)
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
RAND Corporation

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