090420 Technology And Class V1.0

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Are relationships to technology, creativity and technical skill important to defining (or redefining) class differences in contemporary society
Review positions taken by Florida, Wark, Kroker & Weinstein et al

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090420 Technology And Class V1.0

  1. 1. Are relationships to technology, creativity and technical skill important to defining (or redefining) class differences in contemporary society? <ul><li>What is class? </li></ul><ul><li>Review positions taken by Florida, Wark, Kroker and Weinstein . </li></ul>Technocultures Presentation: Technology and class
  2. 2. Topic: Are relationships to technology, creativity and technical skill important to defining (or redefining) class differences in contemporary society? <ul><li>What is Class? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Useful Construct for analysis and definition of Society used by Historians, Economists, Sociologists and Anthropologists </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Some Classical Definitions and Class Constructs – late 19 th Century/Early 20 th Century </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Marx </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Class determined by the relationship to the ownership of the ‘means of production’. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Max Weber </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>formulated a three-component theory of stratification, with class, status and party (or politics) as subordinate to the ownership of the means of production. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ferdinand Tönnies’ 5 classic definitions of Gemeinschafts vs Gesellschaften </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>used by early sociologists as a conceptual structure to analyse and explain the breakdown of old mores resulting from the Industrial Revolution </li></ul></ul></ul>Technocultures Presentation: Technology and class
  3. 3. Are relationships to technology, creativity and technical skill important to defining (or redefining) class differences in contemporary society? <ul><li>Florida’s 1 whole chapter strongly supports the above statement. </li></ul><ul><li>His basic supporting tenets include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Creative (and super creative) classes ‘draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creative class (in U.S.) 10% in 1900, 30% in 1999 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creative class values – Individuality, Meritocracy, Diversity and Openness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shift from economic growth issues to lifestyle values, ‘survival to self-expression’. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>As an economist, he appears to disregard some of the traditional class constructs </li></ul><ul><li>‘ My definition of class emphasizes the way people organize themselves into social groupings and common identities based primarily on their economic function’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Postmaterialist’ values, and other Interesting concepts presented, which appear to ignore the social power relationships concerning other traditional and contemporary analysts of Class </li></ul>Technocultures Presentation: Technology and class
  4. 4. Are relationships to technology, creativity and technical skill important to defining (or redefining) class differences in contemporary society? <ul><li>Wark 2 strongly implies that the ‘hacker’ class have the above skills which are important to his definition of class differences </li></ul><ul><li>He continues the concept of ‘property’, developing it to be a more abstract concept than in traditional class analyses. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ As private property advances from land to capital to information, property itself becomes more abstract’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>eg Pastoralist class - > rent } </li></ul><ul><li> Capitalist Class - > profit from capital } ‘property’ </li></ul><ul><li> Vectoralist Class - > trade in information } </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Information, like land or capital, becomes a form of property monopolised by a class, a class of vectoralists….’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Nothing protects the vectoralist business from its competitors other than its capacity to qualitatively transform the information it possesses and extract new value from it’ </li></ul><ul><li>He Implies ‘hackers’ have more power for self-determination than farmers or workers of the Pastoralist and Capitalist Classes. This is because ‘Information is the most easily reproducible object ever captured in the abstraction of property’. </li></ul><ul><li>Completing his analysis ‘The potential of a class-divided world to produce its own overcoming comes not a moment too soon’. </li></ul>Technocultures Presentation: Technology and class
  5. 5. Are relationships to technology, creativity and technical skill important to defining (or redefining) class differences in contemporary society? <ul><li>Kroker’s 3 whole dissertation assumes a ‘digital elite class’ and implies that this class has creative and technical skills </li></ul><ul><li>examines the ‘Virtual Class’ and where it is taking society. Their conclusions are far more negative with arguably less substantiation than Florida or Wark </li></ul><ul><li>Explores virtual class motives: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ the virtual class must destroy the public dimension of the Internet for its own survival’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ virtual class seeks to exterminate the social possibilities of the Internet’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ capitalist freebooters destroy one another as they race to be the ones who actualise the Net, just like the railroads of the nineteenth century racing across the continent’. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>States that: ‘Marx understood this first: every technology releases opposing possibilities towards emancipation and domination’ </li></ul><ul><li>Clearly presumes ‘domination’ will prevail: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ capitalist freebooters destroy one another as they race to be the ones who actualise the Net, just like the railroads of the nineteenth century racing across the continent’. </li></ul></ul>Technocultures Presentation: Technology and class
  6. 6. Are relationships to technology, creativity and technical skill important to defining (or redefining) class differences in contemporary society? <ul><li>In Summary </li></ul><ul><li>Although with quite unique analyses, Florida, Wark and Kroker each support the above proposition, with each providing different although often overlapping perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Wark’s ‘hackers’ are similar to Florida’s ‘creative class’. Wark explores their relationship to vectoralists, whereas Florida ignores the power structures above or within the creative class </li></ul><ul><li>Florida, Wark and Kroker provide insight into contemporary class constructs, but only Wark actively attempts to position his analysis, comparing traditional and contemporary class </li></ul><ul><li>Other contemporary writer’s input: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stanley Aronowitz 4 in ‘Technology and the Future of Work’ tries to put a more reasoned argument for the place of technology, and the likely impact on defining class difference. He writes from a less abstract perspective, claiming: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ main use of computers and other cybernetic technologies is to destroy paid work’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ millions are falling through the holes, including a significant segment of the middle class which no less than manual workers is experiencing the deleterious effects of computerisation’. </li></ul></ul></ul>Technocultures Presentation: Technology and class
  7. 7. Are relationships to technology, creativity and technical skill important to defining (or redefining) class differences in contemporary society? <ul><ul><li>Group Discussion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What forces do you see as ‘emancipation’ vs ‘domination’ with technology access and usage in contemporary society? </li></ul></ul>Technocultures Presentation: Technology and class
  8. 8. Are relationships to technology, creativity and technical skill important to defining (or redefining) class differences in contemporary society? <ul><li>Bibliography – List of references </li></ul><ul><li>1 Florida, Richard (2003) The rise of the creative class: and how it’s transforming work, leisure, community and everyday life: North Melbourne: Pluto Press, 67-82 </li></ul><ul><li>2 Wark, McKenzie (2004)’Class’ in A Hacker Manifesto , Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, Pars 24-47 and 71-78 </li></ul><ul><li>3 Kroker, Arthur and Weinstein, Michael A. (2001) ‘The Theory of the Virtual Class’ in Trend, David Reading Digital Culture , Malden, Mass. And Oxford: Blackwell. pp 144-153 </li></ul><ul><li>4 Aronowitz, Stanley, (1994) ‘Technology and the Future of Work’ in David Trend, Reading Digital Culture, (2001) Reading Digital Culture , Malden,Mass. And Oxford: Blackwell. pp 133-143. </li></ul><ul><li>5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gemeinschaft_and_Gesellschaft </li></ul><ul><li>T ö nnies, Ferdinand,(1887) Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft; (2001)(ed. Jose Harris), Community and Civil Society , Cambridge University Press </li></ul>Technocultures Presentation: Technology and class

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