Worship, Faith, and Evangelism: Religion as an Ideological Lens for Engineering Worlds

Morgan G. Ames, Daniela K. Rosner, and Ingrid Erickson. “Worship, Faith, and Evangelism: Religion as an Ideological Lens for Engineering Worlds.” Proceedings of CSCW 2015, ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing. ACM Press, March 2015, 69-81.


While some in the CSCW community have researched the values in technology design and engineering practices, the underlying ideologies that reinforce and protect those values remain under-explored. This paper seeks to address this gap by identifying a common ideological framework that appears across four engineering endeavors: the OLPC Project, the National Day of Civic Hacking, the Fixit Clinic, and the Stanford d.school. We found that all four of these communities utilized elements of religious practice to affirm their membership and shared vision. We describe the forms of worship we saw in these engineering worlds, their practices of evangelism, and the ways in which they addressed doubt. We also demonstrate the role mythologies play as ideologically charged narratives. Our discussion of these parallels illuminates the extent and consequences of quasi-religious practices in engineering worlds and illustrates the utility of using religion as a "lens" for understanding ideological commitments in engineering culture.

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July 6, 2020