Studies in the Critical Engagement of Technology

Gayle L. Ormiston

Gayle L. Ormiston brings together in this volume a collection of essays, by some of the most prominent figures in the current study of technology, that question and transform our understanding of technology and the pervasive role it plays in our lives. The selections presented here offer a broad array of critical positions on and approaches to the ubiquity and mediacy of technology. The contributors draw on current debates in the general field of science and technology studies, the philosophy of technology, and psychology and cognitive science; they approach certain questions related to technology and the study of technology today from the perspective of articulating and examining those assumptions, ideas, and values that inform our conceptions, both naive and sophisticated, of technology.


Today, some of the most provocative areas of critical inquiry are taking shape based on the study of technology in philosophy, political science, art and literary criticism, science and technology studies, and cognitive science. Technology appears simultaneously as an artifact of human existence and as the medium by which the habitat of human existence comes to be what it is. The alliance of artifice, artifact, and habitat is so fused with (and in) our daily lives that a response to the question "What is technology?" seems a rather simple and familiar affair.


We are, after all, immersed in a world composed of and by technological artifice. We work with and engage understandings of technology, both pedestrian and otherwise, every day. And in doing so, we assume technology's uniformity and comprehensibility. In general, we presuppose an identity of technology and a knowledge of its effects: we act as if technology can be identified per se, as if a definition of technology can be articulated apart from our engagement of and with it - that is, apart from our descriptions of it.


It is the purpose of this collection to locate the understanding of technology within the matrix of connected ideas and assumptions that we inevitably bring to it. But more than presenting a series of reflective and critical studies, the selections in this book suggest avenues by which we can move toward a more commanding use and comprehension of the phenomena and equipment we call technology.


0934223092 (AUP)
Lehigh University Press - From Artifact to Habitat