[Air-L] Technology as ideologically neutral?

Cristian Berrio Zapata cristian.berrio at gmail.com
Sat Jul 7 04:48:46 PDT 2012

Pls do not let McLuhan out of the scope... in McLuhan, M. (1995). The
Playboy Interview. Essential McLuhan, 233-269.

“*In the past, the effects of media were experienced more gradually,
allowing the individual and society to absorb and cushion their impact to
some degree. Today, in the electronic age of instantaneous communication, I
believe that our survival, and at the very least our comfort and happiness,
is predicated on understanding the nature of our new environment, because
unlike previous environmental changes, the electric media constitute a
total and near-instantaneous transformation of culture, values and
attitudes. This upheaval generates great pain and identity loss, which can
be ameliorated only through a conscious awareness of its dynamics. If we
understand the revolutionary transformations caused by new media, we can
anticipate and control them; but if we continue in our self-induced
subliminal trance, we will be their slaves*.” (McLuhan, 1995)

On the other hand, I am a fan of applying the "complexity" view to all ICT
views. Therefore it would be quite difficult to sepparate politics, from
ideology, from economics, from culture, all of them part of the
Internet-Web pack. It  comes to be very visible when looking at digital
divide programes applied to indigenous communities.

Regarding the "amputation" problem also raised by McLuhan, ICT tools let
"self perception" out of the scope. Self perception (proprioception and
tactile perception) is the base of affective bound, "love". Then, what are
we depriving new generations of?

2012/7/7 jeremy hunsinger <jhuns at vt.edu>

> 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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*Cristian Berrío Zapata*

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