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Texts: Akrich, M. (1992). The de-scription of technical objects. Feenberg, A. (1999). Questioning technology. London/New York: Routledge.

Feenberg, A. (2002). Transforming technology: a critical theory revisited. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. Star , S.L. & Bowker, G.K. How to Infrastructure. Chapter 9 in Livingstone & Lievrouw (eds). Handbook of new media: social shaping and social consequences of ICTs. Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the social: an introduction to actor-network theory. MacKenzie, D. and Wajcman, J. (eds.) (1999). Introductory essay: the social shaping of technology. Suchman, L. A. (1987). Plans and situated actions: The problem of human-machine communication.

Gitelman, L. (2006). Always already new: media, history, and the data of culture. Hayles, N. K. (2012). How we think: Digital media and contemporary technogenesis. McKenzie, D. F. (1999). Bibliography and the sociology of texts.

Bogost, I. (2007). Persuasive games: the expressive power of videogames. Bogost, I. (2008). Unit operations: an approach to videogame criticism. Jones, S. E. (2008). The meaning of video games: gaming and textual strategies.

Mosco, V. (2009). The Political Economy of Communication. London: SAGE.

Haraway, D. (1988). The science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective. Wajcman, J. (1991). Feminism confronts technology. University Park: Penn State University.

Akrich, M. The De-Scription of Technical Objects, in Shaping Technology/Building Society, edited by W.E. Bijker and J. Law, 205-24. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1992. "[T]wo vital questions start to come into focus. The first has to do with the extent to which the composition of a technical object constrains actants in the way they relate both to the object and to one another. The second concerns the character of these actants and their links, the extent to which they are able to reshape the object, and the various ways in which the object may be used" (p. 206). "Once considered in this way, the boundary between the inside and the outside of an object comes to be seen as a consequence of such interaction rather than something that determines it. The boundary is turned into a line of demarcation traced, within a geography of delegation, between what is assumed by the technical object and the competences of other actants" (p. 206). "Designers thus define actors with specific tastes, competences, motives, aspirations, political prejudices, and the rest, and they assume that morality, technology, science, and economy will evolve in particular ways. A large part of the work of innovators is that of 'inscribing' this vision of (or prediction about) the world in the technical content of the new object. I will call the end product of this work a 'script' or a 'scenario'" (p. 208). "Thus, like a film script, technical objects define a framework of action together with the actors and the space in which they are supposed to act" (p. 208). "[W]e cannot be satisfied methodologically with the designer's or user's point of view alone. Instead we have to go back and forth continually between the designer and the user, between the designer's projected user and the real user, between the world inscribed in the object and the world described by its displacement" (p. 208). "This is what happened in the case of the Ivory Coast and its electricity network. Here the physical extension of the network was an integral part of a vast effort to reorganize the country spatially, architecturally, and legally. The object was to create such new and "modern" entities as the individual citizen" (p. 214). "Once technical objects are stabilized, they become instruments of knowledge. Thus when an electricity company sets differential tariffs for high- and low-consuming domestic users, for workshops, and for industrial consumers, it finds ways of characterizing and identifying different social strata. If it also chooses categories used in other socioeconomico-political network, then the knowledge it produces can be 'exported'" (p. 221).


Bogost, I. (2007). Persuasive games: the expressive power of videogames. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. "As I proposed at the start of this chapter, procedural rhetoric is the practice of using processes persuasively, just as verbal rhetoric is the practice of using oratory persuasively and visual rhetoric is the practice of using images persuasively" (p. 28). "Procedural rhetorics do mount propositions: each unit operation in a procedural representation is a claim about how part of the system it represents does, should, or could function. The McDonalds Videogame makes claims about the business practices required to run a successful global fast-food empire" (p. 36). "For another part, all artifacts subject to dissemination need not facilitate direct argument with the rhetorical author; in fact, even verbal arguments usually do not facilitate the open discourse of the Athenian assembly. Instead, they invite other, subsequent forms of discourse, in which interlocutors can engage, consider, and respond in turn, either via the same medium or a different one. Dialectics, in other words, function in a broader media ecology than Blair and Turkle allow. This objection applies equally to all rhetorical formsverbal, written, visual, procedural, or otherwise" (p. 37). "In a procedural representation like a videogame, the possibility space refers to the myriad configurations the player might construct to see the ways the processes inscribed in the system work. This is really what we do when we play videogames: we explore the possibility space its rules afford by manipulating the games controls" (p. 43). "For one part, videogames are among the most procedural of computational artifacts. All software runs code, but videogames tend to run more code, and also to do more with code. Recalling Crawfords term, videogames tend to offer more process intensity than other computational media. Videogames tend to demand a significant share of a computers central processing unit (CPU) resources while running; they are more procedural than other computational artifacts" (p. 44). "But meaning in videogames is constructed not through a re-creation of the world, but through selectively modeling appropriate elements of that world. Procedural representation models only some subset of a source system, in order to draw attention to that portion as the subject of the representation. Interactivity follows suit: the total number and credibility of user actions is not necessarily important; rather, the relevance of the interaction in the context of the representational goals of the system is paramount. Videogames offer a particularly good context for this selective interactivity" (p. 46).

"Instead, I am interested in videogames that make arguments about the way systems work in the material world. These games strive to alter or affect player opinion outside of the game, not merely to cause him to continue playing. In fact, many of the examples I will discuss strive to do just the opposite from arcade games: move the player from the game world into the material world (p. 47). "Serious games are videogames created to support the existing and established interests of political, corporate, and social institutionsSuch goals do not represent the full potential of persuasive games. If persuasive games are videogames that mount meaningful procedural rhetorics, and if procedural rhetorics facilitate dialectical interrogation of process-based claims about how real-world processes do, could, or should work, then persuasive games can also make claims that speak past or against the fixed worldviews of institutions like governments or corporations" (p. 57). "Part of that practice is learning to read processes as a critic. This means playing a videogame or using procedural system with an eye toward identifying and interpreting the rules that drive that system. Such activity is analogous to that of the literary critic interpreting a novel or the film critic reviewing a filmdemanding access to a computer programs code might be akin to asking for direct access to an authors or filmmakers expressive intentions" (p. 64). "Under the shiny, credible graphics of Sim City towns is an abstract simulation of urban development, based largely on Jay Forresters concept of urban dynamics.31 But beneath even that layer of abstraction, the game marshals interactions between units of urban development via cellular automata, a technique that governs interaction between units (cells) of a system" (p. 239). "But rather than suggesting that the exercise of Latin, or mathematics, or history themselves strengthen the mind through generic exercise, Sayers proposes that the embedded logics of such subjects provide the tools necessary to interrogate new, unfamiliar questions. These tools become the basis for living a productive adult life, or for interrogating a new, more advanced subject at university (the equivalent of the medieval quadrivium, which follows the trivium)" (p. 247). "Like the cultural and formal specificity of Latin versus Inuit or the formal properties of C versus LISP, the procedural affordances of a computer operating system matter: they constrain and enable the kinds of computational activities that are possible atop that operating system" (p. 251).

"When I began buying Playmobil for my kids, I originally thought there was no way they could offer the same kind of creative play as Lego, since the latter can be recombined in many more ways. But on further reflection, the high specificity of Playmobil pieces offers procedural learning on a much more deeply culturally embedded level than LegoThe components of each collection provide adequate context to allow kids to recombine their toys in a way that preserves, interrogates, or disrupts the cultural context of each piece. When children (or adults!) play with Playmobil, they recombine units of cultural relevancemetermaids, chimney sweeps, frothing beer mugs, airport security checkpoints (see figure 8.1 for an example). In so doing, they gain a richer understanding of the individual meanings of cultural markers through experimenting with their hypothetical recombination in circumstances outside their sphere of influence" (p. 256). "At the start of this chapter, I asked: if videogames are educational, what do they teach, and how do they teach it? To summarize the reply given here: videogame players develop procedural literacy through interacting with the abstract models of specific real or imagined processes presented in the games they play. Videogames teach biased perspectives about how things work. And the way they teach such perspectives is through procedural rhetorics, which players read through direct engagement and criticism" (p. 260).


Bogost, I. (2008). Unit operations: an approach to videogame criticism. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. "In particular, I will suggest that any mediumpoetic, literary, cinematic, computationalcan be read as a configurative system, an arrangement of discrete, interlocking units of expressive meaning. I call these general instances of procedural expression unit operations" (p. ix). "We need the integrity of systems to identify physical, conceptual, or cultural phenomena. But these new types of systems are fluctuating assemblages of unitoperational components rather than overarching regulators. The difference between systems of units and systems as such is that the former derive meaning from the interrelations of their components, whereas the latter regulate meaning for their constituents" (p. 4). "When thought of in this way, units not only define people, network routers, genes, and electrical appliances, but also emotions, cultural symbols, business processes, and subjective experiences. Aggregates of these units, such as works of literature, human conditions, anatomies, and economies can properly be called systems" (p. 5). "In systems analysis, an operation is a basic process that takes one or more inputs and performs a transformation on it. An operation is the means by which something executes some purposeful action" (p. 7). "Unit analysis is the name I suggest for the general practice of criticism through the discovery and exposition of unit operations at work in one or many source texts. Unit analysis is especially useful in comparative criticism across legacy and computational media, and it should prove equally useful in criticism of literature, film, or other artistic works" (p. 15). "In this regard, the discursivity of games is changed by the capabilities of game engines. The kinds of works, and the nature of these works, have material and functional limitations and capabilitiesthe unit operations the game engine exposes. These limitations and capabilities influence the kind of discourse the works can create, the ways they create them, and the ways users interact with them" (p. 64). "But I would argue that something unique takes place in computational works that distinguishes them from other sorts of production, digital or nondigital: computational systems are not the only kinds of works that exhibit the logic of unit operations, but such

systems rely on unit operations as their primary mode of representation, and thus unit operations have a special role in how works like videogames function" (p. 65). "The Sims: Hot Date finally takes the ultimate step in representing the chance encounter as a unit operation: it encapsulates it into the code of a simulation. What the game allows that the literary medium cannot is interactivity, the direct manipulation of the narrator in the simulated world" (p. 87). "Earlier I argued that there is no distinction between subjective and objective representation, in contrast to Chris Crawfords characterization of the difference between games and simulations. The objective simulation is a myth because games cannot help but carry the baggage of ideology" (p. 135). "Instead of segregating disciplines into the independent, static divisions that would characterize any new academic department or critical discipline, a meaningful intellectual interrogation of fields like videogames, software technology, and information systems demands flexible organizational units that act more like adaptive networks than stodgy corporations" (p. 173).


Dyer-Witheford, & de Peuter, G. (2009) Games of empire: global capitalism and video games. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. "Which brings us to the argument of this book. The 'militainment' of Americas Army and the 'ludocapitalism' of Second Life display the interaction of virtual games and actual power in the context of Empire, an apparatus whose two pillars are the military and the market (Burston 2003; Dibbell 2006) vital subjectivities of worker- consumer and soldier-citizen: Second Life recapitulates patterns of online shopping, social networking, and digital labor crucial to global capitalism; Americas Army is but one among an arsenal of simulators that the militarized states of capital preeminently the United States depend on to protect their power and use to promote, prepare, and preemptively practice deadly operations in computerized battlespace (Blackmore 2005)" (p. xiv-xv). "Our hypothesis, then, is that video games are a paradigmatic media of Empire planetary, militarized hypercapitalism and of some of the forces presently challenging it" (p. xv). "To a greater degree than perhaps any previous media other than the book, virtual games are a direct offshoot of their societys main technology of production" (p. xviii). "By Empire, we mean the global capitalist ascendancy of the early twenty-first century, a system administered and policed by a consortium of competitively collaborative neoliberal states, among whom the United States still clings, by virtue of its military might, to an increasingly dubious preeminence. This is a regime of biopower based on corporate exploitation of myriad types of labor, paid and unpaid, for the continuous enrichment of a planetary plutocracy" (p. xxiii). "Empire is flush with power and wealth, yet close to chaos. This is the context in which we place virtual games" (p. xxiv). "We aim to build on the existing body of critical game analysis to construct something that is so far lacking: an account that explores virtual games within a system of global ownership, privatized property, coercive class relations, military operations, and radical struggle" (p. xxix). "Virtual games are exemplary media of Empire. They crystallize in a paradigmatic way its constitution and its conflicts. Just as the eighteenth-century novel was a textual apparatus generating the bourgeois personality required by mercantile colonialism (but also capable of criticizing it), and just as twentieth- century cinema and television were integral to industrial consumerism (yet screened some of its darkest depictions), so virtual games are media constitutive of twenty- first- century global hyper capitalism and, perhaps, also of lines of exodus from it" (p. xxix).

"The ultimate product of this labor is, no doubt, material once a game cartridge, today a disc but its success or failure as a commodity depends on the creation of a relationship: the willingness of a player to identify, perhaps for hours, perhaps over the span of an entire lifetime, with a diminutive, running, jumping, red- capped plumber. Making and playing digital games involve combining technical, communicational, and affective creativity to generate new, virtualized forms of subjectivity" (p. 5). "Hardwired into the category of immaterial labor is the premise that resistance actively alters the course of capitalist development. When capital increases its reliance on this type of labor and commodity, it unwittingly creates tools for autonomy (as we saw with mods) and becomes more vulnerable to attack (as with piracy), albeit in ways that are hardly pure in their outcome" (p. 32). "Cognitive capitalism is this situation where workers' minds become the 'machine' of production, generating profit for owners who have purchased, with a wage, its thinking power. But the mental machinery this executive describes because it is also a living subject constantly poses a problem of control for those who employ it" (p. 37). "Technical machines are, however, themselves components of larger 'social machines' (398). A social machine is a functionally connected assemblage of human subjects and technical machines, people and tools. So, for example, the curved saber is part of an assemblage that includes the armored warrior, the trained horse, the stirrups stabilizing the striking rider a whole military apparatus or 'war machine' (391404)" (p. 70). "Just because capitalism generates new machinic subjectivities does not, however, mean they are fully controlled. On the contrary, Deleuze and Guattari emphasize the potential for emergent human-technical configurations to make unexpected connections and take disruptive 'lines of flight' (1987, 55). They call this uncontrolled element in machinic subjectivity 'nomadism' (351423)" (p. 84). "In this view, biopower is a capacity that rulers must try to control and direct. Hence there is the possibility of friction between biopower wielded from above and 'biopolitical production' rising from belowit is the constitutive bottom-up behavior of player populations, the interaction of thousands of avatars, that gives this form content, animates its parameters, and sometimes pushes against its preset limits" (p. 127). "The multitude is the social force that is at once the motor and the antagonist, the engine and the enemy, of Empire (Hardt and Negri 2000, 2004). It can be defi ned in three different but connected ways. First, the multitude refers to new forms of subjectivity (Hardt and Negri 2000, 19597; Virno 2004, 7593). It is based in emergent individual and collective human

capacities, the fresh ways of producing, communicating, and cooperating that global capital requires to run its vast and complex EmpireMultitudinous subjectivity is not only technically astute and culturally creative but also potentially subversive because its skills, aptitudes, and desires exceed the uses to which Empire tries to confine them" (p. 187). "Such movements open up a third dimension of the multitude a capacity not only to resist Empire but also to develop, protect, and propose alternatives. Hardt and Negri (2000, 400) say the 'political project' of the multitude is nothing less than constituting a world other than that of global capital" (p. 188). "So we turn now to what Alexander Galloway dubs 'counter gaming': the prospect of playing against and beyond games of Empire (2006a, 10726)" (p. 191).


Feenberg, A. (1999). Questioning technology. London/New York: Routledge. "Insofar as we continue to see the technical and the social as separate domains, important aspects of these dimensions of our existence will remain beyond our reach as a democratic society. The fate of democracy is therefore bound up with our understanding of technology" (p. vii). "There are, as essentialists argue, technological masters who relate through rational planning to a world reduced to raw materials. But ordinary people do not resemble the efficiency oriented system planners who pepper the pages of technology critique. Rather, they encounter technology as a dimension of their lifeworld. For the most part they merely carry out the plans of others or inhabit technologically constructed spaces and environments. As subordinate actors, they strive to appropriate the technologies with which they are involved and adapt them to the meanings that illuminate their lives" (p. x). "Lifeworld meanings experienced by subordinate actors are eventually embodied in technological designs; at any given stage in its development, a device will express a range of these meanings gathered not from technical rationality but from past practices of its users" (p. 12). "Awareness of the meanings embedded in technology is more immediately available to ordinary users than to managers and technical personnel" (p. xiii). "Real change will come not when we turn away from technology toward meaning, but when we recognize the nature of our subordinate position in the technical systems that enroll us, and begin to intervene in the design process in the defense of the conditions of a meaningful life and a livable environment" (p. xiv). "Determinism is a species of Whig history which makes it seem as though the end of the story were inevitable from the very beginning" (p. 81). "If technology has many unexplored potentialities, no technological imperatives dictate the current social hierarchy. Rather, technology is a site of social struggle, in Latours phrase, a 'parliament of things' on which political alternatives contend" (p. 83). "1. Technical design is not determined by a general criterion such as efficiency, but by a social process which differentiates technical alternatives according to a variety of casespecific criteria; 2. That social process is not about fulfilling 'natural' human needs, but concerns the cultural definition of needs and therefore of the problems to which technology is


addressed; 3. Competing definitions reflect conflicting visions of modern society realized in different technical choices (p. 83-84). "Technologies are selected by the dominant interests from among many possible configurations. Guiding the selection process are social codes established by the cultural and political struggles that define the horizon under which the technology will fall. Once introduced, technology offers a material validation of that cultural horizon" (p. 87). "Design is only controversial while it is in flux. Resolved conflicts over technology are quickly forgotten. Their outcomes, a welter of taken-for-granted technical and legal standards, are embodied in a stable code, and form the background against which economic actors manipulate the unstable portions of the environment in the pursuit of efficiency" (p. 97). "Technocracy need not impose a specific value-based ideology vulnerable to critique on factual grounds. Rather, it relies on the consensus that emerges spontaneously out of the technical roles and tasks in modern organizations. Controversies are routinely settled by reference to that consensus. Meanwhile, the underlying technical framework is sheltered from challenge. Technocracy thus succeeds in masking its valuative bias behind the facade of pure technical rationality" (p. 103). "Actor network theory argues that the social alliances in which technology is constructed are bound together by the very artifacts they create. Thus social groups do not precede and constitute technology, but emerge with it. This is another aspect of the symmetry of humans and nonhumans which, Latour believes, distinguishes his theory from the usual formulations of constructivism" (p. 114). "Callon notes that networks are constructed by simplifying their members, that is, by enrolling them under a definite aspect that serves the program while ignoring other aspects that do not. In line with this notion, John Law calls network builders heterogeneous engineers because they manage the simplification and linking of many different types of human and nonhuman elements (Law, 1987). But, Callon adds, 'the actor network should notbe confused with a network linking in some predictable fashion elements that are perfectly well defined and stable, for the entities it is composed of, whether natural or social, could at any moment redefine their identity and mutual relationships in some new way and bring new elements into the network' (Callon, 1987: 93). In short, the simplification might fail and the suppressed qualities reemerge. Latour calls the disaggregating forces the network must resist or turn aside, its 'anti-program'" (p. 115).


"Design comes to reflect a heritage of properly technical choices biased by past circumstances. Thus in a very real sense, there is a technical historicity; technology is the bearer of a tradition that favors specific interests and specific ideas about the good life" (p. 139).



Feenberg, A. (2002). Transforming technology: a critical theory revisited. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. "I argue that the degradation of labor, education, and the environment is rooted not in technology per se but in the antidemocratic values that govern technological development. Reforms that ignore this fact will fail, including such popular notions as a simplified lifestyle or spiritual renewal. Desirable as these goals may be, no fundamental progress can occur in a society that sacrifices millions of individuals to production and disempowers its members in every aspect of social life, from leisure to education to medical care to urban planning." (p. 3). "At the highest level, public life involves choices about what it means to be human. Today these choices are increasingly mediated by technical decisions. What human beings are and will become is decided in the shape of our tools no less than in the action of statesmen and political movements. The design of technology is thus an ontological decision fraught with political consequences. The exclusion of the vast majority from participation in this decision is profoundly undemocratic" (p. 3). "Despite their differences, instrumental and substantive theories share a "take it or leave it" attitude toward technology. On the one hand, if technology is a mere instrumentality, indifferent to values, then its design is not at issue in political debate, only the range and efficiency of its application. On the other hand, if technology is the vehicle for a culture of domination, then we are condemned either to pursue its advance toward dystopia or to regress to a more primitive way of life. In neither case can we change it: in both theories, technology is destiny" (p. 8). "But critical theory, as I develop it here, argues, on the contrary, that an alternative may yet be created on the basis of public participation in technical decisions, workers' control, and requalification of the labor force" (p. 12). "The values of a specific social system and the interests of its ruling classes are installed in the very design of rational procedures and machines even before these are assigned specific goals. The dominant form of technological rationality is neither an ideology (a discursive expression of class interest) nor is it a neutral reflection of natural laws. Rather, it stands at the intersection between ideology and technique where the two come together to control human beings and resources in conformity with what I will call 'technical codes'" (p. 14-15). "The strategic standpoint occupied by management privileges considerations of control and efficiency and looks at the world in terms of affordances, precisely what substantive theory criticizes in technology. Modern societies are characterized by the ever expanding effectiveness of strategic control" (p. 16).

"Power is only tangentially at stake in most interactions, and when it imposes itself, resistance is temporary and limited in scope. Yet insofar as masses of individuals are enrolled into technical systems, resistances can weigh on the future design and configuration of the systems and their products" (p. 17). "Technology provides the material framework of modernity. That framework is no neutral background against which individuals pursue their conception of the good life, but instead informs that conception from beginning to end (Borgmann, 1984). Technical arrangements institute a 'world' in something like Heidegger's sense, a framework within which practices are generated and perceptions ordered. Different worlds, flowing from different technical arrangements, privilege some aspects of the human being and marginalize others. What it means to be human is thus decided in large part in the shape of our tools. To the extent that we are able to plan and control technical development through various public processes and private choices, we have some control over our own humanity" (p. 19). "Insofar as one is enrolled in a technical network, one has specific interests corresponding to the potential for good or harm such participation entails. These interests are often served by the existing technical arrangements, but not always, not inevitably. Under these conditions, individuals become aware of dimensions of their being that are ignored, suppressed, or threatened by their technical involvements. When they are able to articulate these interests, an opportunity opens to reconfigure the technical system to take into account a broader range of human needs and capacities" (p. 20). "A technical code is the realization of an interest in a technically coherent solution to a general type of problem. That solution then serves as a paradigm or exemplar for a whole domain of technical activity" (p. 20). "In the remainder of this book I argue that the technical enterprise itself is immanently disposed to address the demands we formulate as potentialities, but that it is artificially truncated in modern societies. Opening technical development to the influence of a wider range of values is a technical project requiring broad democratic participation. Radical democratization can thus be rooted in the very nature of technology, with profound consequences for the organization of modern society" (p. 34). "Like market rationality, 'technological rationality' constitutes the basis for elite control of society. That control is not simply an extrinsic purpose served by neutral systems and machines but is internal to their very structure" (p. 66).


"The place to begin this discussion is with the function of rationality in modern hegemonies. An effective hegemony is one that need not be imposed in a continuing struggle between self-conscious agents but that is reproduced unreflectively by the standard beliefs and practices of the society it dominates. Tradition and religion played that role for millennia; today, forms of rationality supply the hegemonic beliefs and practices. This is the sense in which knowledge has become a kind of power, not merely a tool of those in power, without losing its character as knowledge. This change in the status of knowledge is rooted in distinctive structures of capitalism" (p. 75). "Operational autonomy is the power to make strategic choices among alternative rationalizations without regard for externalities, customary practice, workers' preferences, or the impact of decisions on their households. Whatever other goals the capitalist pursues, all viable strategies implemented from his peculiar position in the social system must reproduce his operational autonomy. The "metagoal" of preserving and enlarging autonomy is gradually incorporated into the standard ways of doing things, biasing the solution to every practical problem toward certain typical responses. In industrial societies, strategies of domination consist primarily in embedding these constancies in technical procedures, standards, and artifacts in order to establish a framework in which day-to-day technical activity serves the interests of capital" (p. 75-76). "Capitalist social and technical requirements are condensed in a 'technological rationality' or a 'regime of truth' that brings the construction and interpretation of technical systems into conformity with the requirements of a system of domination. I will call this phenomenon the social code of technology or, more briefly, the technical code of capitalism. Capitalist hegemony, on this account, is an effect of its code" (p. 76). "Individual technologies are constructed from just such decontextualized technical elements combined in unique configurations to make specific devices. The process of invention is not purely technical: the abstract technical elements must enter a context of social constraints. Technologies, as developed ensembles of technical elements, are thus greater than the sum of their parts. They meet social criteria of purpose in the very selection and arrangement of the elements from which they are built up" (p. 78). "The assembly line only appears as technical progress because it extends the kind of administrative rationality on which capitalism already depends. It might not be perceived as an advance in the context of an economy based on workers' cooperatives in which labor discipline was self-imposed rather than imposed from above" (p. 78-79). "Their double aspect theory of technology attributes a certain neutrality to basic techniques, if not with respect to ends in general, at least with respect to different encodings. Technical

codes responding to a specific social interest select one technically coherent configuration of these basic techniques from among a variety of alternatives. This is what makes possible modern hegemonies based on technical knowledge" (p. 80). "Yet the objective workings of this technology are as blind to social distinctions as the computer that grades a culturally biased test. The bias, in such cases, originates not in the technical elements but in their specific configuration in a real world of times, places, historical inheritancesin sum, a world of concrete contingencies. The essence of formal bias is the prejudicial choice of the time, place, and manner of the introduction of a system composed of relatively neutral elements" (p. 81). "The illusion that technology is neutral arises when actual machines and systems are understood on the model of the abstract technical elements they unite in value-laden combinations. Critical theory shatters the illusion by recovering the forgotten contexts and developing a historically concrete understanding of technology" (p. 82). "Technical mediation, however, has unforeseeable consequences. Technological strategies create a framework of activity, a field of play, but they do not determine every move. Like all plans or rules, they are coarse grained compared with the actual detail of concrete activity. Furthermore, the technical system is not just a plan in the heads of a few administrators; it is a real thing with its own properties, its own logic. To the extent that this logic has not been perfectly anticipated and masteredand it never can bethere will be breakdowns, imperfections in the order of the plan. The 'weaker players,' those whose lives or work are structured by the technical mediations selected by management, are constantly solicited to operate in this range of unpredictable effects. As a result, tactical responsiveness is not something imported into the technically mediated game from the outside ('life,' instincts, etc.), but is a form of socially necessary freedom generated immanently within the game itself (Feenberg, 1970)" (p. 86-87). "The ambivalence of computer technology can be summarized in two principles that describe the social implications of technological advance. I call the first of these the 'principle of the conservation of hierarchy.' According to this principle, the social hierarchy can generally be preserved and reproduced as new technology is introduced. Computerization of record keeping is a case in point, intensifying surveillance and control. A second 'principle of democratic rationalization' holds that new technology can often be used to undermine the existing social hierarchy. Most major innovations open possibilities of democratization that may or may not be realized depending on the margin of maneuver of the dominated" (p. 92). "The ordinary computer user is sheltered to some extent from this culture by the higher level interfaces of application programs such as Microsoft Word, but one still gets a hint of the

engineers' world from these programs. It is a rationalistic world that bears little or no connection to everyday experience, in which thinking consists in linear operations on unambiguous representations of artificial, decontextualized, and well-defined objects; problems are clear-cut and solutions definitively testableThese rationalistic assumptions are embodied in the technical code of the computer profession" (p. 98). "Here, then, is an unsuspected aspect of computer work. The contradiction between automatism and communication built into computer practitioners' daily experience offered a certain margin of maneuver that they were able to use to modify their social insertion and activities" (p. 100). "Like a hammer, which possesses a head for striking and a handle for holding, the computer's very structure implies an operator who intervenes in the mechanical environment but is not a part of it" (p. 102). "The design of computers is thus humanly significant as well as instrumentally important, for "in designing tools we are designing ways of being" (Winograd and Flores, 1987: xi). Winograd and Flores call this "ontological designing." They write, "In ontological designing, we are doing more than asking what can be built. We are engaged in a philosophical discourse about the selfabout what we can do and what we can be" (Winograd and Flores, 1987: 179). That discourse, I would add, is also political" (p. 107). "In addition, patterns of innovation would change as democratic management increased margin of maneuver, enabling employees to alter the 'rules of the game' in their favor. With the new management system would come new criteria for judging proposed innovations. The capitalist technical code, adjusted to the need to maximize profit and control the workforce, would be replaced by a different code that would take into account a wider range of variables" (p. 156).



Gitelman, L. (2006). Always already new: media, history, and the data of culture. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. "This book examines the ways that mediaand particularly new mediaare experienced and studied as historical subjectsI begin with the truism that all media were once new as well as the assumption, widely shared by others, that looking into the novelty years, transitional states, and identity crises of different media stands to tell us much, both about the course of media history and about the broad conditions by which media and communication are and have been shaped" (p. 1). "The introduction of new media, these instances suggest, is never entirely revolutionary: new media are less points of epistemic rupture than they are socially embedded sites for the ongoing negotiation of meaning as such" (p. 6). "If media include what I am calling protocols, they include a vast clutter of normative rules and default conditions, which gather and adhere like a nebulous array around a technological nucleus. Protocols express a huge variety of social, economic, and material relationships. So telephony includes the salutation Hello? (for English speakers, at least), the monthly billing cycle, and the wires and cables that materially connect our phones. E-mail includes all of the elaborately layered technical protocols and interconnected service providers that constitute the Internet, but it also includes both the QWERTY keyboards on which e-mail gets 'typed' and the shared sense people have of what the e-mail genre is" (p. 7-8). "Media and their publics coevolve. Because the demonstrations of 1878 have never been studied before in any detail, it has never been clear the extent to whichfar from possessing an intrinsic logic of its ownthe new medium was experienced as party to the existing, dynamic (and extrinsic) logics of writing, print media, and public speech. Audiences experienced and helped to construct a coincident yet contravening logic for recorded sound, responding to material features of the new medium as well as the contexts of its introduction and ongoing reception and development" (p. 13). "One of my points is that all new media emerge into and help to reconstruct publics and public life, and that this in turn has broad implications for the operation of public memory, its mode and substance. The history of emergent media, in other words, is partly the history of history, of what (and who) gets preservedwritten down, printed up, recorded, filmed, taped, or scannedand why" (p. 26). "I argued most explicitly in chapter 1 that when recorded sound was new, it was in some ways experienced as party to the existing, dynamic logics of writing, print media, and public speech, the nexus of so many open questions I have here called bibliographic ones,

because I started with meanings authored and conveyed on paper. The new medium came to make sense only when its demonstration to and subsequent use by early audiences helped to construct a coincident yet partly contravening logic for recordinga logic that soon became self-evident, and thus came to seem intrinsic to phonographs and phonograph records" (p. 94). "Electronic documents in 1972, like those in Lickliders 1965 prognostications, appeared amid and are therefore distinct from commands, prompts, headers, menus, and messages. They were composed of typed lines and characters, they could be transmitted as packets, and they were contained in files. More important, what distinguished them most as documents was neither an essential, ontological property nor a material, bibliographic difference, but rather their social or cultural standing" (p. 116).



Haraway, D. (1988). The science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective. Feminist Studies, 14(3), 575-599. "From this point of view, science -the real game in town - is rhetoric, a series of efforts to persuade relevant social actors that one's manufactured knowledge is a route to a desired form of very objective power. Such persuasions must take account of the structure of facts and artifacts, as well as of language-mediated actors in the knowledge game." (p. 577) "So, I think my problem, and 'our' problem, is how to have simultaneously an account of radical historical contingency for all knowledge claims and knowing subjects, a critical practice for recognizing our own "semiotic technologies" f r making meanings, and a nononsense commitment to faithful accounts of a "real" world, one that can be partially shared and that is friendly to earthwide projects of finite freedom, adequate material abundance, modest meaning in suffering, and limited happiness" (p. 579). "I would like a doctrine of embodied ob-jectivity that accommodates paradoxical and critical feminist science projects: Feminist objectivity means quite simply situated knowledges" (p. 581). "Feminist objectivity is about limited location and situated knowledge, not about transcendence and splitting of subject and object. It allows us to become answerable for what we learn how to see" (p. 583). "Many currents in feminism attempt to theorize grounds for trusting especially the vantage points of the subjugated; there is good reason to believe vision is better from below the brilliant space platforms of the powerful" (p. 583). "The standpoints of the subjugated are not "innocent" positions. On the contrary, they are preferred because in principle they are least likely to allow denial of the critical and interpretive core of all knowledge. They are knowledgeable of modes of denial through repression, forgetting, and disappearing acts ways of being nowhere while claiming to see comprehensive" (p. 584). "I am arguing for politics and epistemologies of location, positioning, and situating, where partiality and not universality is the condition of being heard to make rational knowledge claims. These are claims on people's lives. I am arguing for the view from a body, always a complex, contradictory, structuring, and structured body, versus the view from above, from nowhere, from simplicity" (p. 589).



Hayles, N. K. (2012). How we think: Digital media and contemporary technogenesis. University of Chicago Press. "[T]his book charts the implications of media upheavals within the humanities and qualitative social sciences as traditionally print-based disciplines such as literature, history, philosophy, religion, and art history move into digital media." (p. 1) "Working collaboratively, the digitally based scholar is apt to enlist students in the project, and this leads quickly to conceptualizing courses in which web projects constitute an integral part of the work. Now the changes radiate out from an individual research project into curricular transformation and, not coincidentally, into different physical arrangements of instruction and research space." (p. 5) "With the momentous shift from print to digital media within the humanities, Comparative Media Studies provides a rubric within which the interests of print-based and digital humanities scholars can come together to explore synergies between print and digital media, at the same time bringing into view other versions of Comparative Media Studies, such as the transition from manuscript to print culture, that have until now been relegated to specialized subfields. Building on important work in textual and bibliographic studies, it emphasizes the importance of materiality in media" (p. 7). "As Balsamo argues in Designing Culture: The Technological Imagination at Work (2011 ), humanities scholars should seize the initiative and become involved in helping to develop the tools our profession needs. We cannot wait, Balsamo contends, until the tools arrive readymade (and often ill-made for our purposes). Rather, we should get in on the ground floor through collaborations not only among ourselves (as in the Project Bamboo Digital Humanities Initiative) but also with commercial companies such as Google" (p. 41). "Needing to translate desire into the explicitness of unforgiving code allows implications to be brought to light, examined, and modified in ways that may not happen with print. At the same time, the nebulous nature of desire also points to the differences between an abstract computational model and the noise of a world too full of ambiguities and complexities ever to be captured fully in a model" (p. 42). "After more than two decades of symptomatic reading, however, many literary scholars are not finding it a productive practice, perhaps because (like many deconstructive readings) its results have begun to seem formulaic, leading to predictable conclusions rather than compelling insights" (p. 59).


"Deep attention is essential for coping with complex phenomena such as mathematical theorems, challenging literary works, and complex musical compositions; hyper attention is useful for its flexibility in switching between different information streams, its quick grasp of the gist of material, and its ability to move rapidly among and between different kinds of texts" (p. 69). "[T]echnical objects are always on the move toward new configurations, new milieu, and new kinds of technical ensembles. Temporality is something that not only happens within them but also is carried by them in a constant dance of temporary stabilizations amid continuing innovations" (p. 89). "Feynman makes clear that he did not have the ideas in advance and wrote them down. Rather, the process of writing down was an integral part of his thinking, and the paper and pencil were as much a part of his cognitive system as the neurons firing in his brain" (p. 93). "Weaving together the strands of the argument so far, I propose that attention is an essential component of technical change (although under theorized in Simondon's account), for it creates from a background of technical ensembles some aspect of their physical characteristics upon which to focus, thus bringing into existence a new materiality that then becomes the context for technological innovation" (p. 103). "Disciplining the body in this way was one of many practices that made telegram writing an inscription technology enrolling human subjects into technocratic regimes characterized by specialized technical skills, large capital investments, monopolistic control of communication channels, and deferrals and interventions beyond the ken of the individual telegram writer and receiver" (p. 130). "This fictional scenario suggests that the code books, by using certain phrases and not others, not only disciplined language use but also subtly guided it along paths the compilers judged efficacious. In addition to inscribing messages likely to be sent, the code books reveal ways of thinking that tended to propagate through predetermined words and phrases" (p. 132). "These structures imply that the primary purpose of narrative is to search for meaning, making narrative an essential technology for humans, who can arguably be defined as meaning-seeking animals" (p. 180). "The flip side of narrative's inability to tell the story is the proliferation of narratives as they transform to accommodate new data and mutate to probe what lies beyond the

exponentially expanding infosphere. No longer singular, narratives remain the necessary others to database's ontology, the perspectives that invest the formal logic of database operations with human meanings and gesture toward the unknown hovering beyond the brink of what can be classified and enumerated" (p. 183).



Jones, S. E. (2008). The meaning of video games: gaming and textual strategies. New York and London: Routledge. "The meaning(s) of video games are constructed and they are collaborative. They are made by social interactions of various kinds rather than found in the software and hardware objects themselves. The meanings of games are not essential or inherent in their form (though form is a crucial determinant), even if we define form as a set of rules and constraints for gameplay, and certainly not in their extractable stories (though the fictive storyworld matters in most games), but are functions of the larger grid of possibilities built by groups of developers, players, reviewers, critics, and fans in particular times and places and through specific acts of gameplay or discourse about games" (p. 3)." "I prefer another theoretical concept from literary theory, one whose scope is more material and less exclusively linguistic: Gerard Genettes concept of the paratext" (p. 7). "Since the 1980s, however, textual studies has experienced a paradigm shift, away from the relentless focus on the prior ideal of an authors intentions and in favor of focusing on the historical reception of texts, and on the social text (as theorized by D. F. McKenzie and later by Jerome McGann). This new school has focused more on the collaborative nature of all texts, and on the afterlife of texts in the world, as they are published, read, and often reconfigured by readers and interpreters" (p. 8-9). "It seems to me that the job of scholars looking at video games should be to illuminate those connections and boundaries, to trace the material and cultural determinants, from software code to design, to marketing, social networks of players and fans, and to wider cultural fictions and key texts, that help to shape the production, distribution, and receptionwhich is to say the meaningsof video games" (p. 16). "In other words, the dominant strain of textual studies now takes as its object of study the complex phenomena of the social texta complex event-horizon, a cluster of dynamic interactions among various determining forces, agents, intentions, and chance occurrences. No text, in this view, is an island, much less an island ruled by a single authors unitary intention" (p. 36). "Like books, games are never merely remarkable objects. Nor are they merely formal structures. They are, as Espen Aarseth has argued, simulations, systems of rules-based possible acts, abstract structures consisting of the vectors of peoples engagements with the games possibilities, acts of gameplay. Those acts, however, are always performed in cultural contexts of one kind or another, including the blend of make-believe and actual

contexts that constitutes the games universe. Contextualized gameplay acts are the meaning(s) of video games" (p. 93). "The idea is for textual scholars to build models not of textual objects, whether rare manuscripts or the first editions of poems, but of complex reception histories, of what they have done and are doing in the world. [Y]ou will not want to build a model of one made thing, you will try to design a system that can simulate all the realized and realizable documentary possibilitiesthe possibilities that are known and recorded as well as those that have yet to be (re)constructed (parag. 37). You would build a simulation, a virtual machine for recreating and creating textual historyfor playing out the possibilities" (p. 93).



Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the social: an introduction to actor-network theory. Oxford: Clarendon, 2005. "One way to mark this difference is to say that social aggregates are not the object of an ostensive definitionlike mugs and cats and chairs that can be pointed at by the index fingerbut only of a performative definitionI dont want to suggest that groups are made by fiat or, worse still, out of speech acts by mere conventions For ANT, if you stop making and remaking groups, you stop having groups. No reservoir of forces flowing from 'social forces' will help you If inertia, durability, range, solidity, commitment, loyalty, adhesion, etc. have to be accounted for, this cannot be done without looking for vehicles, tools, instruments, and materials able to provide such a stability" (p. 34-35). "For the sociologists of associations, they make all the difference in the world because there exists no society to begin with, no reservoir of ties, no big reassuring pot of glue to keep all those groups together. If you dont have the festival now or print the newspaper today, you simply lose the grouping, which is not a building in need of restoration but a movement in need of continuation" (p. 37). "Action is not done under the full control of consciousness; action should rather be felt as a node, a knot, and a conglomerate of many surprising sets of agencies that have to be slowly disentangled" (p. 44). "An 'actor' in the hyphenated expression actor-network is not the source of an action but the moving target of a vast array of entities swarming toward it. To retrieve its multiplicity, the simplest solution is to reactivate the metaphors implied in the word actor that I have used so far as an unproblematic placeholder" (p. 46). "What ANT does is that it keeps asking the following question: Since every sociologist loads things into social ties to give them enough weight to account for their durability and extension, why not do this explicitly instead of doing it on the sly?" (p. 68). "If we stick to our decision to start from the controversies about actors and agencies, then anything that does modify a state of affairs by making a difference is an actoror, if it has no figuration yet, an actant. Thus, the questions to ask about any agent are simply the following: Does it make a difference in the course of some other agents action or not? Is there some trial that allows someone to detect this difference?" (p. 71). "ANT states that if we wish to be a bit more realistic about social ties than reasonable sociologists, then we have to accept that the continuity of any course of action will rarely consist of human-to-human connections (for which the basic social skills would be enough

anyway) or of object-object connections, but will probably zigzag from one to the other" (p. 75). "[W]hen objects have receded into the background for good, it is always possiblebut more difficultto bring them back to light by using archives, documents, memoirs, museum collections, etc., to artificially produce, through historians accounts, the state of crisis in which machines, devices, and implements were born" (p. 81). "Finally, when everything else has failed, the resource of fiction can bringthrough the use of counterfactual history, thought experiments, and 'scientifiction'the solid objects of today into the fluid states where their connections with humans may make sense. Here again, sociologists have a lot to learn from artists" (p. 82). "We dont know yet how all those actors are connected, but we can state as the new default position before the study starts that all the actors we are going to deploy might be associated in such a way that they make others do things. This is done not by transporting a force that would remain the same throughout as some sort of faithful intermediary, but by generating transformations manifested by the many unexpected events triggered in the other mediators that follow them along the line" (p. 107). "I can now state the aim of this sociology of associations more precisely: there is no society, no social realm, and no social ties, but there exist translations between mediators that may generate traceable associations" (p. 108). "Empiricism no longer appears as the solid bedrock on which to build everything else, but as a very poor rendering of experience. This poverty, however, is not overcome by moving away from material experience, for instance to the 'rich human subjectivity', but closer to the much variegated lives materials have to offer" (p. 111-112). "When we list the qualities of an ANT account, we will make sure that when agencies are introduced they are never presented simply as matters of fact but always as matters of concern, with their mode of fabrication and their stabilizing mechanisms clearly visible. In addition, we will be especially" (p. 120). "If the social is something that circulates in a certain way, and not a world beyond to be accessed by the disinterested gaze of some ultra-lucid scientist, then it may be passed along by many devices adapted to the taskincluding texts, reports, accounts, and tracers. It may or it may not. Textual accounts can fail like experiments often do" (p. 127).


MacKenzie, D. and Wajcman, J. (eds.) (1999). Introductory essay: the social shaping of technology. [pp.3-27] In The Social Shaping of Technology. McGraw Hill Education. "[W]e defined them [new media] as "information and communication technologies and their associated social contexts" (p. 23, this volume), and specifically (following the lead of our contributors Susan Leigh Star and Geof Bowker) as infrastructures with three components: the artefacts or devices used to communicate or convey information; the activities and practices in which people engage to communicate or share information; and the social arrangements or organizational forms that develop around those devices and practices" (p. 5). "Our main conclusion is that new media require us to reconsider the longstanding dependence within media research on theories and phenomena of mass society. In the days of mass media, a related but different three-part framework, encompassing production, text, and audience, dominated media research and scholarship" (p. 6). "This is why we emphasize social shaping and social consequences together, in Michel Callon's term, as an ensemble: it is precisely the dynamic links and interdependencies among artefacts, practices and social arrangements that should guide our analytic focus. These dynamic interrelations are not infinitely flexible, however, and our use of the term infrastructure is intended to suggest that artefacts, practices, and social arrangements and the relations among them can and do become routine, established, institutionalized, and fixed to various extents, and so become taken for granted in everyday life" (p. 6). "[B]y social shaping we mean to suggest more of a mutual shaping process in which technological development and social practices are co-determining (for a fuller discussion, see Boczkowski, 2004)" (p. 8). "People always have choices about how technologies are created, understood and used. However, when certain technologies become very extensive, embedded and taken for granted (e.g. voice telephony, broadcast television, newspaper publishing, and increasingly, the Internet), they can also constrain or limit the range of available choices. This too is a social process, as Agre points out when he observes that, every system affords a certain range of interpretations, and that range is determined by the discourses that have been inscribed into it (2004: 27)" (p. 8-9). "The second consequence that, in our view, distinguishes new media from earlier mass media channels and content is the pervasive sense of interactivity associated with newer channels, that is, the selectivity and reach that media technologies afford users in their 'choices of information sources and interactions with other people'" (p. 13). Back

McKenzie, D. F. (1999). Bibliography and the sociology of texts. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press Bibliography "is the only discipline which has consistently studied the composition, formal design, and transmission of texts by writers, printers, and publishers; their distribution through different communities by wholesalers, retailers, and teachers; their collection and classification by librarians; their meaning for, and- I must add - their creative regeneration by, readers" (p. 12). "Beyond that, [bibliography] allows us to describe not only the technical but the social processes of their transmission. In those quite specific ways, it accounts for non-book texts, their physical forms, textual versions, technical transmission, institutional control, their perceived meanings, and social effects" (p. 13). Bibliography "testifies to the fact that new readers of course make new texts, and that their new meanings are a function of their new forms. The claim then is no longer for their truth as one might seek to define that by an authorial intention, but for their testimony as defined by their historical use" (p. 29). "Within that counter-tradition, not only is any recorded text bound to be deformed by the processes of its transmission, but even the form it does have is shown to be less an embodiment of past meaning than a pretext for present meaning" (p. 33). "What is clear is that Milton's concept of the book and of an author's presence within it represents only one end of a bibliographical spectrum. The counter-tradition of textual transformations, of new forms in new editions for new markets, represents the other. A sociology of texts would comprehend both. It would also extend their application to the scholarship of non-book texts" (p. 39). "But what constitutes a text is not the presence of linguistic elements but the act of construction" (p. 43). "The ostensible unity of any one 'contained' text- be it in the shape of a manuscript, book, map, film, or computer-stored file - is an illusion. As a language, its forms and meaning derive from other texts; and as we listen to, look at, or read it, at the very same time we re-write it" (p. 60).



Mosco, V. (2009). The Political Economy of Communication. London: SAGE. "In the narrow sense, political economy is the study of the social relations, particularly the power relations, that mutually constitute the production, distribution, and consumption of resources, including communication resources" (p. 2). "But for the purpose of exploring the political economy of communication, it is useful to see it as a social exchange of meaning whose outcome is the measure or mark of a social relationship. From this perspective, communication is more than the transmission of data or information; it is the social production of meaning that constitutes a relationship" (p. 6). "A far more general and ambitious definition of political economy is the study of control and survival in social life. Control refers specifically to the internal organization of individual and group members, while survival takes up the means by which they produce what is needed to reproduce themselves. Control processes are broadly political in that they involve the social organization of relationships within a community. Survival processes are fundamentally economic because they concern the production of what a society needs to reproduce itself" (p. 25). "Most generally, praxis refers to human activity and specifically to the free and creative activity by which people produce and change the world, including changing themselves (p. 34). "My conception of communication follows from a general interest to place social process and social relations in the foreground of research. It therefore begins with the idea that communication is a social process of exchange, whose product is the mark or embodiment of a social relationship. Broadly speaking, communication and society are mutually constituted. The tendency within political economy and forms of institutional analysis is to concentrate on how communication is socially constructed, on the social forces that contribute to the formation of channels of communication, and on the range of messages transmitted through these channels. This has contributed to an important body of research on how business, government, and other structural forces have influenced communication practices. Moreover, it has helped to situate these structures and practices within the wider realm of capitalism, trade, and the international division of labor. Nevertheless, it is also important to recognize that the social process does not end by structuring communication practices" (p. 67). "It is therefore equally important to think about how communication practices, including communicators and the tools they use, construct a social and cultural world that includes myth and symbol. For example, communication about new media like the Internet is not just shaped by the big companies who profit most from it. It is also molded by people whose aspirations lead them to construct grand visions or myths from the

technologyCommunication is not just the transmission of information; it is also the social construction of meaning" (p. 68). "Heretofore the focus was on how one (the United States) or even a handful of nation states (the United States plus the European Union) and their own corporations dominated weaker states and their nascent economies, in the process of producing little more than dependency and underdevelopment. Today the emphasis is on the integration of corporations, states, and classes across national, regional, and even developmental divides (Mosco and Schiller, 2001)" (p. 107). "The emphasis on resistance is increasingly generalized in research on the contemporary political economy, marking a shift in the central standpoint from a focus on capital, dominant corporations, and elites to alternatives that draw from feminist and labor research" (p. 113). "Developed by Hartsock (1999) in the early 1980s, feminist standpoint theory has flourished in the work of Harding (2003), Haraway (2003), and others who maintain that women's subordination provides a uniquely important basis for understanding a wide array of issues from the most general philosophical questions of epistemology and ontology to such practical issues as the appropriate social science techniques to deploy in research" (p. 114). "According to autonomists, the widespread availability of information and communication technology makes it very difficult for capitalism to preserve the legal regime of private property that historically limited flows of communication and information. It is now more difficult than ever to figure out what capitalism is doing when technologies challenge traditional ideas of production and consumption, use and exchange valueFor the autonomists, capitalism faces a second challenge. Although communication and information technologies provide it with the tools to manage and control large numbers of people from anywhere on the globe, these tools are also available to the masses of people and at relatively low cost too. For the autonomist, not only does technology challenge property and market rules, it enables people to disrupt the system just at a time when capitalism requires careful global coordination" (p. 121). Following from this, political economy is also inclusive in that it rejects essentialism, or the tendency to reduce all social practices to a single political economic explanation, in favor of an approach that views concepts as starting or entry points into a diverse social field (Resnick and Wolff, 1987, 2006)political economy approaches social life as a set of mutually constitutive processes, whose units act on one another in various stages of formation, and with a direction and impact that can only be described in specific research" (p. 128).


"In the Marxian view, the commodity objectifies exploitative social relations by presenting them in a congealed form that makes them seem natural" (p. 131). "When political economists think about the commodity form in communication, they have tended to start with media content. Specifically, from this point of view, the process of commodification in communication involves transforming messages, ranging from bits of data to systems of meaningful thought, into marketable products" (p. 133). "[C]ommunication is taken to be a special and particularly powerful commodity because, in addition to its ability to produce surplus value (thereby behaving like all other commodities), it contains symbols and images whose meaning helps to shape consciousness" (p. 134). "According to him, labor is constituted out of the unity of conception, or the power to envision, imagine, and design work, and execution, or the power to carry it out.4 In the process of commodification, capital acts to separate conception from execution, skill from the raw ability to carry out a task. It also concentrates conceptual power in a managerial class that is either a part of capital or represents its interests" (p. 139). "Structuration describes a process by which structures are constituted out of human agency, even as they provide the very "medium" of that constitution. Social life is comprised of the mutual constitution of structure and agency; put simply, society and the individual create one another. We are the product of structures that our social action or agency produces. To paraphrase Marx, we do make history, but not under conditions of our own making" (p. 185). "Hegemony differs from these in that it is the ongoing formation of both image and information to produce a map of common sense which is sufficiently persuasive to most people that it provides the social and cultural coordinates to define the "natural" attitude of social life. Hegemony is therefore more valuable than the concept of ideology because it is not simply imposed by class power, but constituted organically out of the dynamic geometries of power embedded in social relations and social organizations throughout society" (p. 206). "Moreover, once achieved, consent is a powerful form of control; but a process that requires consent implies resistance and the potential for alternative forms of common sense. Hence, although hegemony is a central means of accomplishing the structuration of social relationships, it does not guarantee their reproduction" (p. 208).



Star , S.L. & Bowker, G.K. How to Infrastructure. Chapter 9 in Livingstone & Lievrouw (eds). Handbook of new media: social shaping and social consequences of ICTs. London/Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. "One thing that unites each of these strands is the notion that infrastructure is not absolute, but relative to working conditions. It never stands apart from the people who design, maintain and use it" (p. 4). "The normally invisible quality of working infrastructure becomes visible when it breaks: the server is down, the bridge washes out, there is a power blackout. Even when there are back-up mechanisms or procedures, their existence further highlights the now visible infrastructure" (p. 5-6). "He makes the strong point that it was not until ways of thinking through the new technology emerged that improvements occurred: the dynamo made a bad steam engine, the computer a bad typewriter, and so on" (p. 8). "Frequently a technical innovation must be accompanied by an organizational innovation in order to work: the design of sociotechnical systems engages both the technologist and the organization theorist" (p. 9). "A given infrastructure may have become transparent, but a number of significant political, ethical and social choices have without doubt been folded into its development and this background needs to be understood if we are to produce thoughtful analyses of the nature of infrastructural work" (p. 9). "It is not just the bits and bytes that get hustled into standard form in order for the technical infrastructure to work. People's discursive and work practices get hustled into standard form as well. Working infrastructures [p. 235 ] standardize both people and machines" (p. 11). "But the point is that there is no such thing as pure data. You always have to know some context. And as you develop metadata standards you always need to think about how much information you need to give in order to make your information maximally useful over time. And here we circle back to the first difficulty with developing an information infrastructure: the more information that you provide in order to make the data useful to the widest community and over the longest time the more work you have to do" (p. 17).



Suchman, L. A. (1987). Plans and situated actions: The problem of human-machine communication. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press "It is only when we are pressed to account for the rationality of our actions, given the biases of European culture, that we invoke the guidance of a planReconstructed in retrospect, plans systematically filter out precisely the particularity of detail that characterizes situated actions, in favor of those aspects of the actions that can be seen to accord with the plan" (p. 26-27). "The view, that purposeful action is determined by plans, is deeply rooted in the Western human sciences as the correct model of the rational actor. The logical form of plans makes them attractive for the purpose of constructing a computational model of action, to the extent that for those fields devoted to what is now called cognitive science, the analysis and synthesis of plans effectively constitute the study of action" (p. 27). "Every human tool relies on, and materializes, some underlying conception of the activity that it is designed to support. As a consequence, one way to view the artifact is as a test on the limits of the underlying conception. In this book I examine an artifact built on a planning model of human action. The model treats a plan as something located in the actor's head, which directs his or her behavior. In contrast, I argue that artifacts built on the planning model confuse plans with situated actions and recommend instead a view of plans as formulations of antecedent conditions and consequences of action that account for action in a plausible way. Stated in advance plans are necessarily vague, insofar as they are designed to accommodate the unforeseeable contingencies of actual situations of action" (p. 31). "The cognitivist strategy is to interject a mental operation between environmental stimulus and behavioral response: in essence, to relocate the causes of action from the environment that impinges on the actor to processes, abstractable as computation, in the actors head. The first premise of cognitive science, therefore, is that people (or "cognizers" of any sort) act on the basis of symbolic representations: a kind of cognitive code, instantiated physically in the brain, on which operations are performed to produce mental states such as "the belief that p," which in turn produce behavior consistent with those states" (p. 37). "A more profound basis for the relative sociability of computer-based artifacts, however, is the fact that the means for controlling computing machines and the behavior that results are increasingly linguistic rather than mechanistic. That is to say, machine operation becomes less a matter of pushing buttons or pulling levers with some physical result and more a matter of specifying operations and assessing their effects through the use of a common language" (p. 38).


"I have introduced the term situated action. That term underscores the view that every course of action depends in essential ways on its material and social circumstances. Rather than attempt to abstract action away from its circumstances and represent it as a rational plan, the approach is to study how people use their circumstances to achieve intelligent action. Rather than build a theory of action out of a theory of plans, the aim is to investigate how people produce and find evidence for plans in the course of situated action. More generally, rather than subsume the details of action under the study of plans, plans are subsumed by the larger problem of situated action" (p. 70). "A great deal of deliberation, discussion, simulation, and reconstruction may go into such a plan. But however detailed, the plan stops short of the actual business of getting your canoe through the falls. When it really comes down to the details of responding to currents and handling a canoe, you effectively abandon the plan and fall back on whatever embodied skills are available to you" (p. 72). "The notion that we act in response to an objectively given social world is replaced by the assumption that our everyday social practices render the world publicly available and mutually intelligible. It is those practices that constitute ethnomethods. The methodology of interest to ethnomethodologists, in other words, is not their own but that deployed by members of the society in coming to know, and making sense out of, the everyday world of talk and actionObjectivity is a product of systematic practices or members' methods for rendering our unique experience and relative circumstances mutually intelligible. The source of mutual intelligibility is not a received conceptual scheme, or a set of coercive rules or norms, but those common practices that produce the typifications of which schemes and rules are made." (p. 76). "So language more generally is not only anchored in, but in large measure constitutes, the situation of its use" (p. 80). "This implies that, on any given occasion, the concrete situation must be recognizable as an instance of a class of typical situations, and the behavior of the actor must be recognizable as an instance of a class of appropriate actions" (p. 81). "The recommendation for social studies, as a consequence, is that instead of looking for a structure that is invariant across situations we look for the processes whereby particular, uniquely constituted circumstances are systematically interpreted so as to render meaning shared and action accountably rational" (p. 84) "Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this approach assumes that the coherence of action is not adequately explained by either preconceived cognitive schema or institutionalized social

norms. Rather, the organization of situated action is an emergent property of moment-bymoment interactions between actors and between actors and the environments of their action" (p. 177). "First, the mutual intelligibility that we achieve in our everyday interactions sometimes with apparent effortlessness, sometimes with obvious travail is always the product of in situ, collaborative work. Second, the general communicative practices that support that work are designed to maximize sensitivity to particular participants on particular occasions of interaction. Third, face-to-face communication includes resources for detecting and remedying troubles in understanding as part of its fundamental organization. And fourth, every occasion of human communication is embedded in, and makes use of, an unarticulated background of experiences and circumstances. Communication in this sense is not a symbolic process that happens to go on in real-word settings but a real-world activity in which we make use of language to delineate the collective relevance of our shared environment" (p. 178). "In particular, people make use of a rich array of linguistic, nonverbal, and inferential resources in finding the intelligibility of actions and events, in making their own actions sensible, and in managing the troubles in understanding that inevitably arise. Todays machines, in contrast, rely on a fixed array of sensory inputs, mapped to a predetermined set of internal states and responses. The result is an asymmetry that substantially limits the scope of interaction between people and machines" (p. 179). "For situated action, however, the vagueness of plans is ideally suited to the fact that the detail of intent and action must be contingent on the circumstantial and interactional particulars of actual situations. Given this view of plans, namely, as resources for action rather than as controlling structures, the outstanding problem is not to improve on them but to understand what kind of resource they are" (p. 183). "By abstracting uniformities across situations, plans allow us to bring past experience and projected outcomes to bear on our present actions" (p. 184). "Rather than planning the experiment through an a priori analysis, the experimenters decided what to do next by relating each current observation to their research goals. The experimenters expertise lay not in completing the plan but in the ability to generate hypotheses continually and to exploit serendipity in the course of the experiment. The experimental process, being what Feitelson and Stefik call 'event driven,' allowed the experimenter to 'fish for interesting possibilities'; that is, to follow up on unanticipated observations and opportunities provided by a particular experimental setup (p. 185).


"[Plans] are vague with respect to the details of action precisely at the level at which it makes sense to forego abstract representation and rely on the availability of a particular, embodied response" (p. 185). "Just as it would seem absurd to claim that a map in some strong sense controlled the travelers movements through the world, it is wrong to imagine plans as controlling actions. However, the questions of how a map is produced for specific purposes, how in any actual instance it is interpreted vis-a-vis the world, and how its use is a resource for traversing the world are both reasonable and productive" (p. 186). "Applied to artifacts more generally, this perspective orients us to an embodied user, located in a particular, actual, historically constituted site. Moreover, this user is in important respects herself a designer. It is not only a machines users who are multiple, in other words, but also the artifact itself" (p. 191). "As an alternative, Turnbull proposes that we take a more performative approach, treating the great cathedrals as laboratories, in the sense of places in which people, practices, and materials are iteratively shaped, reworked, and translated over time and across space. More than individual genius, he proposes, the three essential components needed to account for the construction process as it might have been enacted are 'talk, tradition and templates'" (p. 197).



Wajcman, J. (1991). Feminism confronts technology. University Park: Penn State University. "This approach, as Sandra Harding (1986) and others have pointed out, locates the problem in women (their socialization, their aspirations and values) and does not ask the broader questions of whether and in what way science and its institutions could be reshaped to accommodate women For example, the current career structure for a professional scientist, dictates long unbroken periods of intensive study and research which simply do not allow for childcare and domestic responsibilities. In order to succeed women would have to model themselves on men who have traditionally avoided such commitments." (p. 2). "Much research has examined the circumstances in which scientists actually produce scientific knowledge and has demonstrated how social interests shape this knowledge. Studies provide many instances of scientific theories drawing models and images from the wider society. It has also been demonstrated that social and political considerations enter into scientists' evaluations of the truth or falsity of different theories. Even what is considered as 'fact', established by experiment and observation, is social" (p. 4). "Rather than asking how women can be more equitably treated within and by science, they ask 'how a science apparently so deeply involved in distinctively masculine projects can possibly be used for emancipatory ends'" (p. 4-5). "Rather than asserting some inner essence of womanhood as an ahistorical category, we need to recognize the ways in which both 'masculinity' and 'femininity' are socially constructed and are in fact constantly under reconstruction" (p. 9). "Taking her cue from feminist postmodernism, Harding argues that the problem with feminist standpoint epistemologies is that they assume that there is a single privileged position from which science can be evaluated. There is no 'woman' to whose social experience the feminist empiricist and standpoint approaches can appeal; there are instead the 'fractured identities of women'" (p. 11). "During the eighties, feminists have begun to focus on the gendered character of technology itself. Rather than asking how women could be more equitably treated within and by a neutral technology, many feminists now argue that Western technology itself embodies patriarchal values. This parallels the way in which the feminist critique of science evolved from asking the 'woman question' in science to asking the more radical 'science question' in feminism" (p. 17).


"I believe that women's exclusion from, and rejection of, technology is made more explicable by an analysis of technology as a culture that expresses and consolidates relations amongst menTechnological change is a process subject to struggles for control by different groups. As such, the outcomes depend primarily on the distribution of power and resources within society" (p. 22-23). "Yet, in common with the labour process debate, the sociology of technology has concentrated almost exclusively on the relations of paid production, focusing in particular on the early stages of product development. In doing so they have ignored the spheres of reproduction, consumption and the unpaid production that takes place in the home" (p. 24). "As standards of personal and household cleanliness rose during the twentieth century women were expected to produce clean toilets, bathtubs and sinks. With the introduction of washing machines, laundering increased because of higher expectations of cleanliness. There was a major change in the importance attached to child rearing and mother's role. The average housewife had fewer children, but modern 'child-centered' approaches to parenting involved her in spending much more time and effort" (p. 85). "The very definition of technology, in other words, has a male bias. This emphasis on technologies dominated by men conspires in turn to diminish the significance of women's technologies, such as horticulture, cooking and childcare, and so reproduces the stereotype of women as technologically ignorant and incapable. The enduring force of the identification between technology and manliness, therefore, is not inherent in biological sex difference. It is rather the result of the historical and cultural construction of gender" (p. 137). "Let us first return for a moment to the example of computer hackers and look more closely at the way manliness is represented here. One might initially describe their form of masculinity as the professionalized, calculative rationality of the technical specialist. What is interesting for our purposes is the way they mythologize their work activities in terms of the traditional 'warrior ethic' of heroic masculinity" (p. 144). "This sex segregation at work reflects the fact that patriarchal relations are an integral part of our entire social system. In modern societies it is the education system, in conjunction with other social institutions, which helps to perpetuate gender inequalities from generation to generation. Schooling, youth cultures, the family and the mass media all transmit meanings and values that identify masculinity with machines and technological competence. These social, contexts are intertwined and mutually reinforcing, but they should not be seen simply as external forces. Individuals actively participate in, resist, and even help reproduce by resisting, these social practices" (p. 151).


"In our society the computer has become socially constructed as a male domain; children learn from an early age to associate computers with boys and men. This means that girls approach the computer less often and with less confidence than boys. It may also mean that there are significant gender differences in how girls and boys relate to the machine and what it means to them. They may even have a tendency to want to use the machine for different things. But we should be extremely wary of saying that because women have different ways of proceeding, this indicates a fundamental difference in capacity" (p. 158).