University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group > How should we think about Information Technology and Social Change? Towards a material-spatial aesthetics of technology use

How should we think about Information Technology and Social Change? Towards a material-spatial aesthetics of technology use

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Katherine Bowers.

Everyone nowadays, it seems, has an opinion on the role of new information and communication technologies (ICT) in altering the contours of our social worlds. Utopian and dystopian visions abound: for some, for instance, modern social media are contributing to an increased infantilisation of public discourse, whilst for others they are a revolutionary force for social and political liberation. The hackneyed nature of much public debate on such issues, and the array of powerful corporate and commercial vested interests involved, is worrying to say the least. A pertinent question, then, is how might we think about ICT and social change in more sophisticated and insightful ways? In this talk, I will attempt to briefly review some of the key challenges and traps in this area, before going on to outline what I think is a more promising approach to thinking about how ICT might be implicated in processes of social continuity and change. This approach puts the notion of (techno-)social, or sociomaterial, practice centre stage, in a bid to redress some of the anti-technological and anti-aesthetic bias of classical approaches to social and cultural theory.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group series.

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