Activism

DO ARTIFACTS HAVE POLITICS?


  • Following the success of the Breaking the Frame gathering, the Breaking the Frame working group has decided to set up a monthly reading group on the politics of technology. We will look at some classic writers, such as Lewis Mumford, Carolyn Merchant, EF Schumacher, Ivan Illich, etc as well as more current writers, eg Evgeny Morozov.The first meeting of the group will be at 7pm on July 14th, venue to be confirmed, in London. If you intend to be there, or can’t make it but would like to come to future meetings, please let us know by replying to this email. The reading for the first meeting of the group will be Langdon Winner’s ‘Do Artifacts Have Politics?’ (The following quote, and subsequent link to the PDF document, provides some food for thought.)

“It is no surprise to learn that technical systems of various kinds are deeply interwoven in the conditions of modern politics. The physical arrangements of industrial production, warfare, communications, and the like have fundamentally changed the exercise of power and the experience of citizenship. But to go beyond this obvious fact and to argue that certain technologies in themselves have political properties seems, at first glance, completely mistaken. We all know that people have politics; things do not. To discover either virtues or evils in aggregates of steel, plastic, transistors, integrated circuits, chemicals, and the like seems just plain wrong, a way of mystifying human artifice and of avoiding the true sources, the human sources of freedom and oppression, justice and injustice. Blaming the hardware appears even more foolish than blaming the victims when it comes to judging conditions of public life.” 

  • DO ARTIFACTS HAVE
 POLITICS?
    [from Winner, L.(1986). The whale and the reactor: a search for limits in an age of high technology. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 19-39.]

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s