Lecture on Class & Technology Arin2600 L6


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Class is a key category in classic sociology to distinguish groups from one another based on economic positions and/or social status. More recently, some theorists have identified how class differences relate to attitudes to, and skills and creativity with, technology.

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Lecture on Class & Technology Arin2600 L6

  1. 1. Technology & Class Week 5-6 ARIN2600 Technocultures Session 1, 2009 Chris Chesher
  2. 2. This week’s readings • 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. • Wark, McKenzie (2004) ‘Class’ and ‘Hacking’ in A hacker manifesto, Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, Pars 24-47 and 71–88ARIN3000 • Kroker, Arthur; and (2001) ‘The theory of the virtual class’ in Trend, David (2001) Reading digital culture, Malden, Mass. and Oxford: Blackwell. pp 144–153.
  3. 3. Bejewelled mobile phone Goldvish diamond-encrusted mobile phone http://blogs.modernjeweler.com/blog/2007/03/
  4. 4. Class • structured differences between groups of people • relationships betw. economic structures, cultural differences & collective identities • power differentials: • power: the chance of a man or of a number of men to realize their own will in a communal action even against the resistance of other who are participation in the action (Weber)
  5. 5. the Corporation ‘Externalities’
  6. 6. http://cepa.newschool.edu/het/profiles/image/marx.gif
  7. 7. Marxist class • Bourgeoisie • owners of capital, exploiters of labour power (industrial, merchant, finance & landed) • produced surplus value • History: capitalists displaced feudal landlords • Proletariat • exploited; antagonistic relationship • Others: lumpenproletariat, petit bourgeoisie, landlords
  8. 8. http://hangingodes.files.wordpress.com/2007/12/weber.jpg
  9. 9. Weberian class • Class: economic base for communal action • market situation • property/lack of property; creditor/debtor • Status groups • social estimation of honour • (style of life; rituals; ethnicity) • Parties: • oriented towards acquisition of power • rational action
  10. 10. The American Ruling Class Directed by John Kirby Written by Lewis Lapham
  11. 11. Class & Technology • Technology as the means of production • Alienation (factory system; Fordism; Taylorism) • Technology & class interests • social shaping (design reflects & reinforces class interests) • Base and superstructure: • Technology as ideology • Distinction (Bourdieu): class and taste
  12. 12. Class & Technology • Inequality • unequal access to technology • Consumption • system of objects (Baudrillard) • mobile privatisation (Williams) • technology as ideology / spectacle • Shoshana Zuboff • production & work: ‘informating’
  13. 13. The ‘Digital Divide’ • Unequal access • Internet use in Australia • 2002 52% under $40k; 89% over $80k • 2006-7 <40k 50%; over $80k 83-93% have internet access at home • ABS Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2001-02 and 2006-7 (8146.0) • Literacy / competency • Cultural capital • Community informatics 8146.0 - Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2007-08 (Dec 2008)
  14. 14. Class & social networks • MySpace v Facebook — danah boyd • These teens are very aware of MySpace and they often have a negative opinion about it. They see it as gaudy, immature, and quot;so middle school.quot; They prefer the quot;cleanquot; look of Facebook, noting that it is more mature and that MySpace is quot;so lame.quot; What hegemonic teens call gaudy can also be labeled as quot;glitzyquot; or quot;blingquot; or quot;flyquot; (or what my generation would call quot;phatquot;) by subaltern teens.
  15. 15. ICTs & class • Link betw. Cultural capital, habitus and cultural form — North et al • ‘Social background is part of what helps form young people’s habitus and this, in turn, affects their approach, and interest in, ICT at home and in school.’ (909) • North, Sue, Ilana Snyder and Scott Bulfin. 2008. quot;DIGITAL TASTES: Social class and young people's technology use.quot; Information, Communication & Society 11(7):895 - 911.
  16. 16. Free software movement • Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four kinds of freedom, for software users : • *The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0). • * The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this. • * The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2). • * The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  17. 17. Classes Identify examples & discuss these categorisations Kroker & Florida Wark Weinstein Virtual class Pastoralist class Super-creative class Capitalist class Visionaries Creative class Vectoralist class VIsionless capitalists Working class Techies Service class Farmers Technointelligentsia Agriculture Working class Hacker class Hypertexted body
  18. 18. Next week • Technology and space • Saco: critical survey of intersections of information technology and space — a heterotopia • Hrachovec: detailed reading of ‘telepresence’ and its tendency to break down assumptions about space, time, communication
  19. 19. Essays • Exercise in writing essay questions • based on a contemporary theme or case study • draw on concepts & debates from the course readings • any ideas? Discuss them in the tutorial.