Tuesday, September 8, 2009

TECHNOLOGY/SELF/SOCIETY: Towards Some Definitions and Questions

Here are some definitions to get us started. Let's consider them, argue with them, and come up with something better.

is it knowledge? It must be more than that, because it encompasses the tools and practices of applying knowledge. Here is a working definition: technology encompasses "tools and practices deliberately employed as natural (rather than supernatural) means for attaining clearly identifiable ends." (Maurice N. Richter, Technology and Social Complexity, p. 8)

Society: a group of people who share a common culture or civilization, who are organized into social relationships

Self: What does it mean to say "I?" "Me?" The self is the entity--both subject and object--through which we experience the world.

OK, have at it!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


This course explores the relationship among technology, the self, and society. Students explore the concept of the self as it has evolved over the course of the romantic, modern, and postmodern eras, and as it has been affected by technology. The course explores the realm of technology and science as features of everyday life, and as a means by which subjects reproduce their identities. Students examine the ways in which different technologies (e.g., the telephone, the radio, the television, the Internet, the automobile) shift our conceptualization of the self and reconfigure our relationship to society. Students critically examine the world around them and the ideologies of the self, of society and of technology that determine the ways in which we interact with each other in the world.

In particular, this semester, we'll focus on social media, mobile technology, and virtual worlds. How do these new technologies create new senses of self, subjectivity, relationships, communication, presence, and being?