Reconceptualising Personas Across Cultures: Archetypes, Stereotypes & Collective Personas in Pastoral Namibia

Cabrero, Daniel G.; Winschiers-Theophilus, Heike and Abdelnour-Nocera, José (2016). Reconceptualising Personas Across Cultures: Archetypes, Stereotypes & Collective Personas in Pastoral Namibia. In: Culture, Technology, Communication. Common World, Different Futures (Abdelnour-Nocer, José; Strano, Michele; Ess, Charles; Van der Velden, Maja and Hrachovec, Herbert eds.), Springer, pp. 96–109.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-50109-3_7

Abstract

The paucity of projects where persona is the research foci and a lack of consensus on this artefact keep many reticent about its purpose and value. Besides crafting personas is expected to differ across cultures, which contrasts the advancements in Western theory with studies and progress in other sites. We postulate User-Created Personas reveal specific characteristics of situated contexts by allowing laypeople to design persona artefacts in their own terms. Hence analysing four persona sessions with an ethnic group in pastoral Namibia –ovaHerero– brought up a set of fundamental questions around the persona artefact regarding stereotypes, archetypes, and collective persona representations: (1) to what extent user depictions are stereotypical or archetypal? If stereotypes prime (2) to what degree are current personas a useful method to represent end-users in technology design? And, (3) how can we ultimately read accounts not conforming to mainstream individual persona descriptions but to collectives?

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