Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Tom Yeh

Second Advisor

Paul Ohm

Third Advisor

Casey Fiesler

Fourth Advisor

Clayton Lewis

Fifth Advisor

Tamara Sumner


As technology mediates more of our lives and leverages more of our personal data, ethical, legal, and policy questions gain more relevance and place pressure on our institutions and societal norms. This thesis looks at how the use of robust socio-technical narratives can act as a space for considering the correspondence between technical choices and social consequences of technology. Given the diversity of stakeholders who shape and are impacted by technology -- such as user communities, lawyers, engineers, students, policymakers -- it is critical we develop communication strategies and mediums for negotiating the sticky ethical and social questions relevant to technology development. This thesis explores several research areas where narrative acts as a tool for discussion, clarification, and negotiation about future uses of emerging technologies. The research work of this dissertation leverages narrative theoretically to support a policy framework for future regulation of data-driven technology. It further looks at how narrative can facilitate ethics discussion in the CS classroom, clarify and raise ethical issues for debate by engineers, and create a space for experts and non-experts to hold discourse and express values around technology ethics and policy. This work draws from several literatures including HCI topics such design fiction and user enactments, risk perception, policy, philosophy, law, and art.