[Air-L] Technology as ideologically neutral?

jeremy hunsinger jhuns at vt.edu
Sat Jul 7 00:28:19 PDT 2012


I find this to be an interesting debate, though mostly the question is where the ideology actually exists.    Does it exist in the object itself?  relations to the object from other objects?  relations to the object to semiotic systems around it?  relations to socius or culture?  or in the systems alone, cultures alone, socius, alone, etc.    

basically there is a matrix here of ideologies, contexts, objects and their axiologies operating both ontologically ala mereological constructions  and epistemologies.   With many blurry middle grounds.   

I hold that artifacts have politics in themselves, but i'm not sure that all artefacts have ideologies in themselves.  The question i tend to raise and ask people to write about is... what is the politics of the toaster, because the toaster has a whole political economics and a politics, but does it have an implied ideology.  Now the design of a toaster can certainly have ideological components, but the idea of a toaster may perhaps not, though granted whether the idea exists outside of the set of objects is another debate for the Platonists to take up.

however... I wonder about the neutrality of the internet because as I've argued here before, that while there is no real internet beyond reference to a conceptual idea that encompasses many technologies and systems that lack what i'd all think of as a unity beyond the concept.  So does it as a whole have a neutrality or an ideology?  there is a certain technocratic rationality to it, and that rationality certainly has a traditionally critiqued ideology, but is that in it, or in the design of it, or in the relations of it within historic contexts?  and isn't neutrality and the claim to it, an ideological claim?  I've always tended to argue that the claim toward neutrality and objectivity is almost always ideological.

one of my favorite authors on this technology as ideology is Paul Virilio and my second favorite is Walter Benjamin in Arcades Project.





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