[Air-L] Technology as ideologically neutral?

Andrew Schrock aschrock at usc.edu
Thu Jul 5 11:11:45 PDT 2012

Any discussion pushing back on the neutrality of technology would be remiss if it didn't include a feminist perspective. A few classics come to mind that are older but present a powerful critique in an accessible way... 

Balsamo, A. (1996). Myths of information: the cultural impact of new information technologies. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 8(3), 341–348. doi:10.1080/09537329608524256
Cockburn, C., & Ormrod, S. (1993). Gender and technology in the making. London; Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage.
Wajcman, J. (1996). Feminism confronts technology. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Raymond Williams' Television seems essential as a response to McLuhan. 

John Durham Peters presents a broad historical overview of what we mean by the phrase determinism in "two cheers for technological determinism." Among his points are that scholars tend to use "technological determinism" as a pejorative when we are generally more balanced. It's a bit of an input-output problem (back to his work on history of communication) where we tend to pull out ideas that serve as counterpoints. Thus we end up repeating ourselves, avoiding what we perceive as pitfalls but not making any new/strong/interesting claims. 

I believe he is working it up for a paper but a video is available here: 


Andrew Schrock
USC Annenberg Doctoral Student
Twitter:	@aschrock
Email: 	aschrock at usc.edu
Phone: 	714.330.6545

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