Bookmarked Mechanisms of Techno-Moral Change: A Taxonomy and Overview (by John Danaher and Henrik Skaug Sætra)
Via Stephen Downes. Overview of how, through what mechanisms, technology changes work moral changes. At first glance seems to me a sort of detailing of Smits’ 2002 PhD thesis Monster theory, looking at how tech changes can challenge cultural categories, and diving into the specific part where cultural categories are adapted to fit new tech in. The citations don’t mention Smits or the anthropological work of Mary Douglas it is connected to. It does cite references by Peter-Paul Verbeek and Marianne Boenink (all three from the PSTS department I studied at), so no wonder I sense a parallel here.
The first example mentioned in the table explaining the six identified mechanisms points in this direction of a parallel too: the 70s redefinition of death as brain death was a redefinition of cultural concepts to assimilate tech change was also used as example in Smits’ work. The third example is a direct parallel to my 2008 post on empathy as shifting cultural category because of digital infrastructure, and how I talked about hyperconnected individuals and the impact on empathy in 2010 when talking about the changes bringing forth MakerHouseholds.
Where Monster theory was meant as a tool to understand and diagnose discussions of new tech, wherein the assmilation part (both cultural categories and technology get adapted) is the pragmatic route (the mediation theory of Peter Paul Verbeek is located there too), it doesn’t as such provide ways to act / intervene. Does this taxonomy provide options to act?
Or is this another descriptive way to locate where moral effects might take place, and the various types of responses to Monsters still determine the potential moral effect?
The paper is directly available, added it to my Zotero library for further exploration.
Many people study the phenomenon of techno-moral change but, to some extent, the existing literature is fragmented and heterogeneous – lots of case studies and examples but not enough theoretical unity. The goal of this paper is to bring some order to existing discussions by proposing a taxonomy of mechanisms of techno-moral change. We argue that there are six primary mechanisms..