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Lecture

Technoscript analysis: The Design of the Photoelectric Lighting Kit

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC3116
Professor
Stephan Larose
Semester
Winter

Description
March 19, 2014 Class Management • Next week, watching documentary A Crude Awakening—on fossil fuel addiction, the energy crisis, economic growth/de-growth, the end of the world, etc. • March 28 is the course evaluation. • April 2 special workshop for research project (submitting the final version); take-home handed out on April 2 and April 4. o Exam will not be posted online—will be due on April 17. Technoscript Analysis • Principle of Symmetry o First coined by Bloor;  It means, impartial to a statement being true or false.  Symmetrical with respect to explaining truth/falsity.  Nature is the result, not the cause of a statement becoming a true fact o Next by Pinch & Bijker;  Technology as being impartial to a machine being success or failure.  Symmetrical with respect to explaining success/failure.  Working is the result, not a cause of a machine becoming success/failure. o In actor-network, symmetry is;  Impartial to an actor being human/inhuman.  Symmetrical with respect to explaining social world/technical world.  The distinction between the technical and the social is the result, not the cause, of the stabilization of the actor-network. • Nonhuman Actor (technology as agency) o Example; Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey (1968)—two nonhuman actors acting and changing each other.  The chimp realised its power through creating a tool out of an immobile, ‘useless’ jawbone. • First it was just flipping other bones over, but later physically/mentally transformed itself into an aggressive, kind of homicidal creature. • Ape has been transformed due to the tool, turning into Man. • Physical anthropologist would describe this as an early process of humanization. • The ape is not the only one being transformed; so is the bone. The bone becomes a hammer, and then a club, handy for killing—this is the birth of warfare in geopolitics. o Tools are never simple utensils under human control to fulfill an established purpose. o Ape goes through a shift of action by creating a link with the bone, which modifies them both.  Translation a new goal or possibility, previously not foreseen, has been created. o Ape, with his tribe mates, would later kill the leader of a neighbouring tribe for a puddle of stale water. Consider modern warfare today. • Last week’s reading Mixing Humans and Nonhumans Together; The sociology of a Door-Closer o Technology implicitly suggests its applications and alternative uses to humans.  May change or intermingle human’s course of action; • Ie. Alarm clock waking person up to commit to tasks/responsibilities. o Earlier version of Where are the Missing Masses? The Sociology of a Few Mundane Artifacts (Bijker) o Akrich The De-scription of Technological Objects  Technical objects participate in building heterogeneous networks that bring together actants of all types and sizes whether human or nonhuman. • Script the concept tries to capture the structuring actions of technical objects, how they enable and constrain the relationships between person-things and person-people. • Designers Inscription in the process of inscription, designers define actors with specific tastes, motives, political
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