For this week, we read most of Slack & Wise’s Culture + Technology and talked about Western paradigms of progress, convenience, and control, as they pertain to our understandings of technology and who we consider technologically literate and/or advanced. Further, this work helped us to think through technologies and our relationships to them as rhetorical and technological assemblages and articulations. Through a cultural studies and actor-network approach, Slack & Wise help us to imagine broader definitions of technology and to think about technology as more historically and culturally that contemporary fixations on new media tend to do. For example, they historicize how certain technologies have been unequally delegated and prescribed along gender, ethnic, class, and ability lines. Further, they interrogate how technologies prescribe identities and standards of beauty.
This work reminds me of the important work of Christina Haas and her evidence that we need to further consider the relationships between old(er) and new(er) media–and what we can learn from older media to imagine more useful and usable technologies, workplaces, etc. in the future.
Ironically enough, last week I saw an interesting ad for Post Shredded Wheat cereal that critiques progress for progress sake and argues that they are not succumbing to the pressure. I searched for the ad online and found the video of it. I found the discussion/controversy that ensues below the video compelling. Check it out: http://adweek.blogs.com/adfreak/2009/05/post-shredded-wheat-is-not-fond-of-progress.html
Haas, Christina. (1999). On the Relationship Between Old and New Technologies. Computers & Composition, 16(2), 209-228.
Slack, Jennifer Daryl & J. Macgregor Wise. (2005). Culture + technology: A primer. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.