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Available February 2016
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Technical Politics: Critical Theory and Technology Designby Graeme Kirkpatrick
Synopses & Reviews
In our rush for growth have we trusted too much to computers - and what bearing does this have on the current global economic meltdown?
In Technical Politics Graeme Kirkpatrick clarifies the place of technology in critical theory, offering a strategic conception of the politics of technology design. In Part One he presents a social -relational definition of technology, locating technology design and innovation in terms of their social and economic co-ordinates in contemporary capitalism. Technology is positioned as a specific social sub-field with its own internal rules and a distinctive, structural relationship with economic processes and social conflicts. In Part Two he identifies the political openings presented by this definition. Going beyond existing critical and constructionist theory, he examines the role of information technology in the contemporary economic crisis, offering a radical new perspective on the future of technology and how that future might be organized to serve human interests.
The book investigates:
*The relation of technology and politics in Marxist political theory and the limitations of the Marxist framework
*A social-relational definition of technology and technological development
*The role of information technology in the contemporary economic crisis
*The lost dreams of the 1970s - what went wrong?
*A strategic conception of digital technology design and how its design might be shaped in the future.
In our rush for growth have we trusted too much to computers - and what bearing does this have on the current global economic meltdown? Why do we simultaneously panic about environmental destruction and refuse to give up cars, video games and i-phones?
Andrew Feenberg is the most prominent critical theorist writing on technology today. His work is grounded in the tradition of Marcuse, the Frankfurt School and early Marx and his ideas, developed over the past thirty years, have grown in importance as technology itself has grown in significance. Feenberg's work brilliantly highlights the paradoxical process of assimilation and progress inherent in the growth of technology, in which our highest aspirations and our deepest fears co-mingle.
This book offers a clear and accessible introduction to the central ideas raised in Feenberg's work. Drawing on a long interview conducted by the author with Feenberg, the book relates his ideas to a wide variety of contemporary issues and brings them into engagement with some of the alternative perspectives currently popular in disciplines outside philosophy, including sociology, politics, cultural studies and media theory.
About the Author
Graeme Kirkpatrick is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Manchester, UK. He is the author of Critical Technology (2004) which won the 2005 Philip Abrams Memorial Prize from the British Sociological Association; Technology and Social Power (2008) and the co-editor of Historical Materialism and Social Evolution (2002).
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