CfP - Luddism: Epistemological and Political - 4S New Orleans September 4-7, 2019
STS research has traditionally focused on innovation processes—and more recently maintenance—leaving practices of technological dismantling, decommissioning, and refusal under examined and less deeply theorized. This is inspite of the fact that contemporary forms of Luddism are highly visible. Ordinary citizens consciously take a break from digital devices, cities demolish of urban infrastructures like elevated highways or trolley systems, parents opt their children out of mandated state testing, and Silicon Valley firms aim to “disrupt” already existing sociotechnical systems and replace them with networked platforms under a startup’s control. How could (or should) STS scholars make sense of these seemingly disparate Luddite activities?
This panel builds on recent scholarship on the interrelations between Luddism as epistemology—a process of learning about technologies as legislations—and as politics—an effort to materially realize a certain vision of the good society. Desirable presentations include ones that draw connections between and contrast contemporary and past movements aspiring to dismantle certain technologies, theorize and elucidate the epistemological dimensions of Luddite politics, discern and examine the barriers to democratizing Luddism, and imagine and propose how technological destruction can proceed in an intelligent and just matter. In exploring deeper theorizations and research on technological dismantling, decommissioning, and refusal, this panel also seeks constructive critiques of epistemological and political Luddism: How to ensure that dismantling is an ethically just political project and protect against the reactionary instantiations that are often associated with 20th century neo-Luddites?
Please submit your abstracts by February 1st, 2019 here.
Michael Bouchey, RPI
Michael Lachney, Michigan State
Taylor Dotson, New Mexico Tech
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Taylor C. Dotson is an associate professor at New Mexico Tech, a Science and Technology Studies scholar, and a research consultant with WHOA. He is the author of The Divide: How Fanatical Certitude is Destroying Democracy and Technically Together: Reconstructing Community in a Networked World. Here he posts his thoughts on issues mostly tangential to his current research.
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