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Do artifacts have politics?

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We will be discussing “Do artifacts have politics?”, by Langdon Winner.

“Do artifacts have politics?” by Langdon Winner. In, The Social Shaping of Technology: How the refrigerator got its hum. Edited by Donald MacKenzie and Judy Wajcman. 1985.

Opening paragraph: In controversies about technology and society, there is no idea more provocative than the notion that technical things have political qualities. At issue is the claim that the machines, structures, and systems of modern material culture can be accurately judged not only for their contributions of efficiency and productivity, not merely for their positive and negative environmental side effects, but also for the ways in which they can embody specific forms of power and authority. Since ideas of this kind have a persistent and troubling presence in discussions about the meaning of technology, they deserve explicit attention.

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This talk is part of the Crucible/Microsoft HCI Reading Group series.

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