Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Margaret A. Eisenhart

Second Advisor

Susan Jurow

Third Advisor

Valerie Otero


Technology use in educational contexts is a personal and social activity. It is linked to individuals' attitudes and practices as well as the culture and structure of the institution. This research uses the theoretical framework of figured worlds and self-in practice to examine identities and cultural practices linked to information technology use and support in a public law school. Observations and interviews were used to collect data on technology practice within the institution. Local practice can be characterized as a figured world of technology use in which particular artifacts, narratives, activities, roles, and concerns are identified as possessing a highly contextualized significance. Technologies and technology activities are identified with the cultural forms imagined in the figured world theory. As cultural forms, technologies and technology practices are adapted, adopted, and integrated into local practice and link the figured world of technology use at this law school to other contexts. Self-in-practice within the context of local technology use is identified with a technology identity and defined as the constant process of choosing and integrating technology into personal practice. As central figures in this figured world, IT support staff attended and adapted to individuals' technology identities while also acting as guides in the construction of individual and organizational technology practice.