Geography’s Technology: Conceptualising technology, technics and the technological

Geography’s Technology: Conceptualising technology, technics and the technological

Andrew Lapworth (University of Bristol), Thomas Keating (University of Bristol), Nina Williams (University of Bristol)

Geographers have long explored the ways technologies reconfigure the production and experience of time and space. In doing so, notions of ‘technology’ or the ‘technological’ have been posited – though often implicitly – in terms of the materialities of hardware and software infrastructures, cyber- and virtual spaces, cloud computing, smart cities, and through associations with technics and affective externalisations of space-time. And recently, turns to technological and digital geographies have raised a number of important questions about the dangers of decontextualizing geographical engagements with technology within a singular category of ‘the technological’ or ‘the digital’. Yet there has been surprisingly little attention to how and whether technology explicitly provides a conceptual basis to contextualise and invigorate geographical research. However, beyond geography, philosophical and theoretical writings have done much to highlight the shortcomings of a cultural theory that subordinates or ignores notions of the technological. In such work, technological processes and objects have been variously conceptualised both in providing the basis for an entire new technical culture (Simondon, forthcoming 2017), and in discussing how technologies of consumer capitalism separate the subject from alternative circuits of knowledge and desire (Stiegler, 2014; Lazzarato, 2014).

This session explores technology, technics and the technological as concepts for geographical thought and research. We welcome contributions intersecting theoretical, methodological, and philosophical questions. These might include, but are by no means limited to, the following:

  • The promises and problems with technology as a concept for approaching questions of ethical and political significance
  • Critical examinations of technological processes and/or objects for geographical research
  • Different theories and concepts of technology, technics, and the technological as they are configured in the work of certain philosophers (e.g. Simondon, Stiegler, Deleuze, Guattari, Derrida, Heidegger, Nancy)
  • Conceptually explicit approaches to technology for researching affect, nonrepresentational and creative geographies
  • Political economic analyses of technology, capitalism and the production of desire and subjectivity.
  • Theoretical expositions of ideas such as subjectivation, technical mentalities, (dis)individuation, ontogenesis, the transindividual, tertiary retention, ecologies and geologies of media, modulation, control societies, dividual, machinism etc.

References

Lazzarato M (2014) Signs and Machines: Capitalism and the Production of Subjectivity, Los Angeles, Semiotext(e).

Simondon, G. (forthcoming, 2017) On The Mode of Existence of Technical Objects, Minneapolis, Univocal.

Stiegler, B. (2014) Re-Enchantment of the World: The value of the human spirit vs. industrial populism, Arthur, T. (trans.), Bloomsbury, London.

The website for the Royal Geographical Society's History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group

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