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Boundary Objects: A Field Guide

Sveta Stoytcheva, Author

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Part I: What is a Boundary Object?

The idea of boundary objects, first introduced by Susan Leigh Star and James Griesemer in 1989, is a very useful theoretical tool that has been adopted by many disciplines. Looking at complex situations through the lens of boundary objects can help us to understand how the various actors involved can cooperate on a project, despite having different and oftentimes conflicting interests. However, it is important to consider context carefully in order to make proper use of this tool. This chapter is an attempt to synthesize the early theorization of boundary objects put forth by Star and her collaborators with extensions of the concept and a discussion of its limitations. It is my hope to expand this project to include additional applications and resources related to boundary objects and their contexts. 

In order to make this relatively abstract concept more accessible, I've attempted to illustrate some examples culled from the literature with images and other media. For more information about how a given example can be interpreted as a boundary object, check the annotations provided. To view the full-text of any annotations (as well as information about the source of the media), click on the details button displayed under each image. Comments on any part of this text are appreciated. 

Creative Commons License
Boundary Objects: A Field Guide by Sveta Stoytcheva is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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