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Technically TogetherReconstructing Community in a Networked World$
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Taylor Dotson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036382

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036382.001.0001

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The Question Concerning Technology and Community

The Question Concerning Technology and Community

(p.1) 1 The Question Concerning Technology and Community
Technically Together

Taylor Dotson

The MIT Press

This chapter presents a far different approach to concerns regarding technologically driven changes to communal life than is typical. Rather than lament lost community or celebrate the present, it describes the status quo as sociotechnically constructed. Technological societies need not be characterized by the relatively thin and fragmented social practices of networked individualism; things could be otherwise. This take on community and technology is further distinguished by how it sees different arrangements for providing belonging as political: They provide some people with a satisfying experience of community but not others. Although network scholars see networked individualism as liberating, many people are as lonely as ever. Finally, this approach parts ways with traditional science and technology studies: 1) Rather than focus on sexy, esoteric technoscience, it concerns itself with the needs and experiences of average people 2) It analyses the barriers to change instead of merely providing an historical or ongoing account of it 3) It emphasizes the role of the built environment, a technology often overlooked within technology studies.

Keywords:   Social construction, Politics of belonging, Science and technology studies, Networked individualism, Partisan scholarship, Community decline, Technological change

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