[Air-L] Technology as ideologically neutral?

Cagla Taskin ctasquin at yahoo.com
Thu Jul 5 07:15:14 PDT 2012

Langdon Winner's "Do Artifacts Have Politics?" instantly pops into my mind, also to be found in his book "The Whale and the Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology".



> From: Charles Ess <charles.ess at gmail.com>
>To: Air list <air-l at listserv.aoir.org> 
>Sent: Thursday, July 5, 2012 4:48 PM
>Subject: [Air-L] Technology as ideologically neutral?
>Dear AoIRists,
>I'm trying to gather both accessible and, to some degree, "landmark" or
>foundational literature that can be used to (gently) challenge a view I keep
>encountering in certain circles lately - namely, that technology in general
>and the Internet in particular is "ideologically neutral".
>Such a view was around in the U.S. in the early days of the Internet - but
>countered in at least two ways; those who took up Social Construction of
>Technology and related theory from ST studies, including discussion of
>"affordances", etc. - and then the very ideological claims (roughly:
>California libertarian technological utopianism) that went from claims such
>as "the internet interprets censorship as damage, and routes around it" to
>claims that the Internet embedded and fostered specially U.S. (neoliberal)
>values of individualism, freedom of expression, and free market capitalism.
>For better and for worse, however, my impression is that in our communities,
>at least, the recognition that the technologies embed and foster specific
>cultural values and communicative preferences (as I like to put it on the
>basis of the CATaC conferences) has been more or less a given for quite some
>time.  Hence, having to re-visit and re-establish these understandings for
>those for whom this recognition is apparently quite new is a bit of a
>Any suggestions for literature, etc., would be most appreciated.
>Many thanks in advance,
>- charles ess
>Until August 31, 2012: Professor MSO
>Media Studies, Institute for Aesthetics and Communication
>Aarhus University
>Helsingforsgade 14 
>8200 Aarhus
>From 1. Sept. 2012: Associate Professor in Media Studies
>Department of Media and Communication
>Forskningsparken II
>Gaustadalléen 21 
>0349  Oslo  Norway
>Lifetime member, AoIR
>³At vove er at miste fodfæstet for en stund, ikke at vove er at miste
>sig selv² [To dare is to lose your footing for an hour; not to dare is to
>lose yourself] - Kierkegaard
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