[SIGCIS-Members] teaching question: what to pair Winner's piece with?

Chris Peterson chris at cpeterson.org
Tue Aug 25 18:25:38 PDT 2015

I like to pair it with "Do Politics Have Artefacts" by Joerges, + sometimes (if the context is right) "The Lives of Bots" by Geiger (http://www.stuartgeiger.com/lives-of-bots-wikipedia-cpov.pdf). 


Sent by the magic of mobile technology

> On Aug 25, 2015, at 7:36 PM, Luke Fernandez <luke.fernandez at gmail.com> wrote:
> As long as we are on Winner's piece I'm wondering what complimentary articles instructors assign when they teach "Do Artifacts Have Politics?" 
> In past years I've paired Winner's soft determinist account with Boas' "Weaving The Authoritarian Web"  (http://people.bu.edu/tboas/authoritarianweb.pdf) which presents a much less "inherently political" picture of technology. ( I excerpt the most relevant "technology as a tool" lines of Boas in the P.S.)  What do others typically pair Winner with?
> Sincerely,
> Luke Fernandez
> lfernandez.org
> PS:  
> "China and Saudi Arabia’s experiences with the control of public Internet use offer a common lesson about the Internet in authoritarian regimes. Ultimately, the Internet is a tool, a medium of communication much like any other; it has no inherent political logic, no “built-in incompatibility [with] non-democratic rule” (Taubman 1998: 256). As a tool, its political impacts will depend largely on who controls the medium and in what manner they seek to use it. The Internet was initially considered an inherently control-frustrating form of communication because of features incorporated into the network by its designers. However, nothing in the technological architecture of the Internet ensured that it would remain difficult to control as it spread around the world."
> PSS: 
> Other years I've assigned excerpts from Leo Marx's _Does Technology Drive History?_  And this year I'm considering some excerpts from Fischer's _America Calling_ particularly the end of chapter 8 in which he says about the telephone:
> "Our theme would be more dramatic if we could implicate the telephone in the emergence of some aspect of psychological modernity -- rationality, angst, anxiety, dehumanization, whatever.  The available facts, which indicate that Americans absorbed the telephone into mundane life, seem deflating.  But there is something yet more profound in seeing people as active participants, assimilating a major material transformation into their lives.  Those lives were not left unaltered to be sure, but the alterations were largely the conscious product of people employing things, not of things controlling people."
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