Digital Devices: Nine Theses

Law, John; Ruppert, Evelyn and Savage, Mike. 2010. Digital Devices: Nine Theses. CRESC. [Other]

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Abstract or Description

The aim of the paper is to intervene in debates about the digital and in particular three kinds of framings: those that imagine the digital in terms of epochal shifts, or as representing a new era of mobility and flow, or as redefining life. Instead, we explore the lively, productive and performative qualities of the digital by attending to the specificities of digital devices and how they interact, and sometimes compete, with older devices and their capacity to mobilise and materialise social and other relations. Building on recent work at CRESC on the Social Life of Methods, we recommend a genealogical approach that is alive to the ways in which digital devices are simultaneously shaped by the social world, and can in turn become agents that shape that world. This calls for attending to the specificities of digital devices themselves, how they are varied and composed of diverse socio-technical arrangements, and are enrolled in the creation of new knowledge spaces, institutions and actors. Rather than exploring what large-scale changes can be revealed and understood through the digital, we argue for explorations of how digital devices themselves are materially implicated in the production and performance of contemporary sociality. To that end we offer nine theses under the following headings: transactional actors; heterogeneity; visualisation; continuous time; whole populations; granularity; expertise; mobile and mobilising; and non-coherence.

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December 2010

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29 Apr 2013 13:17

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29 Apr 2020 15:50


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