, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 79–100 | Cite as

Artefacts that talk: Mediating technologies as multistable signs and tools

  • Cathrine Hasse
Original Article


The article takes up the notion of artefacts as tools and signs and discusses how socially assistive robots impact professional work life and professional identities as multistable active change agents. It argues for a multistable understanding of tools as signs, building on a combination of post-phenomenology and cultural–historical activity theory to capture the embodied, cultural and historical learning processes initiated when technologies engage with humans in professional work life. Moreover, the article invokes the concept of relational agency as useful for capturing how staff may question the distribution of expertise between humans and machines.


socially assistive robots postphenomenology cultural–historical activity theory (CHAT) multistability artefacts professional identity 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cathrine Hasse
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Learning, DPU, University of AarhusCopenhagenDenmark

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