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Technology, Text, Subject: 'After' the Human


Speaker:Christopher Land, University of Warwick
Date: Friday 1 March 2002
Time: 14:00
Location: room 222/3 Streatham Court

Further details

Recent theories of technology have argued that to take constructivism seriously we need to understand technologies as organizational texts, replacing the study of material technology with an appreciation of the ways in which these 'texts' are read in specific situations. Such approaches ultimately fail to deal effectively with the question of technology, however, as they remain dependent upon an unexamined conception of the human as a reader of texts. The effect of this 'textual turn' then, is to move from the objective, to the subjective pole of a still Cartesian dualism. This paper argues that if we want to move beyond dualistic theories of technology and social organization, we need a more thoroughly anti-essentialist approach that us able to account for the non-human agencies at work in the constitution of subjectivity and organizational reality. As a contribution toward developing such an approach, this paper considers post-structuralist approaches to the question of 'the human', most notably through the work of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Going after the figure of the human in this way however, raises yet further questions. If we want to reject anthropocentrism entirely then the inevitable question raised is what comes after the end of Man? The paper concludes then, with a brief consideration of the post-human, and the difficulties of representing cyborgs, becomings and technologies, within the spaces of a written text.