Posted on 2024-02-11

Read Time: 2 minutes | 263 words

Sociotechnical Imaginaries Beyond the State

I am working on a longer write-up of this, but sociotechnical imaginaries are not, nor should they be solely be treated as, aspects of the state. I realize that is how Jasanoff et al appear to have originally conceived them, but there is ample evidence they have broader implications beyond the state apparatus.

Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries we have seen vastly different groups imagine technologies in ways that run counter to traditional state imaginaries. As technology has moved to the center of modern life, these imaginaries have only grown more divergent. Modern publics and counterpublics (definite nod to Michael Warner - 2002 here) do not always share the same sociotechnical imaginary. Publics reinforce sociotechnical imaginaries. They do not create an imaginary as such and imaginaries can be shared across publics (even their counterpublics) in fascinating ways. To assume a singular imaginary for the state is to miss the depth of the cultural struggle at play here, and that is before I even get to talking about how transnational publics and their imaginaries enter this debate.

I was glad to see some new articles cross my desk referencing sociotechnical imaginaries (I will post more on those once I have fully considered them), but I have continued to see a real link between the function and operation of publics and the circulation and reinforcement of sociotechnical imaginaries. I think there a lot that can be done to utilize such thinking for active engagement in our current time.

As an scholar outside the academic system, that engagement is something I consider to be critical.

Author: Geoffrey Gimse

Tags: #sociotechnical-imaginaries  #rhetoric  #digital_rhetoric  #publics 

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