Society, Technology and the Future in Tech Development

Thaa, Helene. (2020) Society, Technology and the Future in Tech Development. Behemoth. A Journal on Civilisation, 13 (1). pp. 57-69.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/78577/

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Much attention has been brought to the techno-futures of “Californian Ideology” (Barbrook/Cameron 2001) and the popular discourse of Silicon Valley. This paper explores techno-futures as collective orientations (Bohnsack 2010) of tech developers outside of tech world’s epicentre. Two group discussions among tech workers are used to identify their understanding of society, of technology’s role in it, and visions of the future. This analysis relates to two sociological approaches: the sociology of future imaginaries and utopias and the sociology of critique. These perspectives shed light on future imaginaries as interpretations of society and technology’s role in shaping it as well as normative judgements on capitalism and technology. The findings suggest that variations of the well-researched Silicon Valley technology discourse can be detected in the discussions. In contrast to a Solutionist Polis legitimising the Silicon Valley model of disruptive innovation (Nachtwey/Seidl 2017), the respondents demand democratic and social control of technological development. Yet, this is only associated with the sphere of the application of technologies, while the production of technologies is imagined as independent from the social and political sphere. The orientations thus indicate a technologized vision of the future, in which society has a reactive role vis-à-vis technological changes.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Gesellschaftswissenschaften > Fachbereich Soziologie > Sozialstrukturanalyse (Nachtwey)
UniBasel Contributors:Thaa, Helene
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Universität Freiburg
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:25 Oct 2021 10:54
Deposited On:25 Oct 2021 10:54

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