September 21, 2011 - Lecture #2.docx

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Western University
Media, Information and Technoculture
Media, Information and Technoculture 2500A/B
John Reed

MIT 1700 Lecture 2 September 21, 2011 I. What is Culture? II. What is Technology? III. Determinisms IV. Technology and Technique VI. Stars, flow, networks I. What is Culture - Culture divides, classifies and orders - Cultured vs. Uncivilized - Binary ways t define culture (1 way or the other, e.g. alive or dead) - Definitions of Culture: o Culture is everything we don’t have to do. o E.g. we have to eat, but we don’t have to have cuisines o Culture is the meaning that we bring, it is socially constructed - There’s only one of everything II. What is Technology? - What culture makes of technology Definitions of Technology: A) Apparatus - E.g. tools (external things you manipulate to achieve a goal) - Technology is deeply embedded in culture - Incomplete definition B) Rules - The way we see it, that is culture has certain customs (family, church, work) - Molds the way that we should live C) Systems - Organizations (e.g. a university is a system that has rules) - All 3 can coexist - Clusters tied together by rules - Can’t remove technology from context Technology = Networks of systems, rules, apparatuses INTERCONNECTED!! D) Frozen by society - So much possibility but there is only one way of doing things III. Determinisms Cultural Determinism vs. Technological determinism (Blame culture or blame the technology. I.e. violent video games (kids fault or the games fault) Reductionist Thinking – Defined as not being something else Technological determinism: A) Culture is dictated or affected by a technology - I.e. the Internet has had a large effect on how we think or act. - I.e. Brazil (1985)(movie) o A society ruled by machines and bureaucracy o Always dynamic between technology and technique - I.e. iPhone business model is now based on technique – it doesn’t have to be just your phone, it can be whatever you want. - I.e. Apple ad (1985) o Progress – everything continues to change Cultural determinism: B) “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” - Technology is determined by values, opposite of technological determinism - HP webcam problem, - not blaming the technology, blaming the culture - Technological determinism ignores the effects of culture an Cultural determinism ignores the effect of technology IV. Technology vs. Technique Technique = culture Technique describes relations between technology and culture - Plug ins between skill and system Technology might change, but technique will not “Tacit know
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