CS213 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Stationary Steam Engine, Sociotechnical System, Sea Lane

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13 Jun 2018
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Learning a new story about technology
Based on notion of network of connections → becomes articulation and assemblage,
look at it in terms of process rather than static thing → building a parliament of things
(sociotechnical system: set of relations between elements)
“Technology Clearly Matters”
Again, how does technology matter?
What makes it matter?
→ Technology is always there
→ Has certain affordances
What makes up technology?
What meanings might be applied to the train, Snowpiercer?
Conflicting definitions (lifeboat, etc)
Must see it as contested site where struggles are being worked out
Viewed as system of domination but also site in which social structure can be challenged
Technology is not pure domination, always possibility of resistance (rebels from back of
train)
Recall: Etymology
1. As application, capability, manner of doing… but not as a thing
2. Whereas in popular discourse it is invariably equal to useful, constructed things
Thus, there are two competing ways of conceptualizing technology
As “Things”, Technology
Is conceived as being made up of objects that have discrete boundaries
Can be interpreted as the “thingification” of technique or technic or what are are coming
to call socio-technical systems
And in their socio-technical systems, technology come to appear as durable, solid, self-
evident, and convenient (eg refrigerator)
Instead of the Egg in a Nest
Simondon
The technical object in its milieu
Object emerges in its own associated milieu and the milieu in turn adjusts to the object
(milieu becomes associated with the object, one becomes implied in the other)
Eg mine locomotive → emerges bc of needs, but changes the milieu that produced it in
the first place, mobile locomotive after stationary steam engine - calls upon new
technologies, network of connections emerges… from mine to rail to port to ship to
shipping lane to port…
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Document Summary

Based on notion of network of connections becomes articulation and assemblage, look at it in terms of process rather than static thing building a parliament of things (sociotechnical system: set of relations between elements) Must see it as contested site where struggles are being worked out. Viewed as system of domination but also site in which social structure can be challenged. Technology is not pure domination, always possibility of resistance (rebels from back of train) Recall: etymology: as application, capability, manner of doing but not as a thing, whereas in popular discourse it is invariably equal to useful, constructed things. Thus, there are two competing ways of conceptualizing technology. Is conceived as being made up of objects that have discrete boundaries. Can be interpreted as the thingification of technique or technic or what are are coming to call socio-technical systems. And in their socio-technical systems, technology come to appear as durable, solid, self- evident, and convenient (eg refrigerator)

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