Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Do We Need "Technoprogressive" Politics?

Upgraded and Adapted from the Moot:

I think people of the sustainable equitable democratic left benefit greatly from being technoscientifically-literate and technodevelopmentally-concerned, since technoscience issues and change are a primary site of social struggle in our historical moment.

Strictly speaking, I don't think one needs a special "identity" category or movement or program called "technoprogressive" (or anything else) to identify this need and this tendency in particular -- because it is the politics of sustainability, equity-in-diversity, democracy that are prior to and articulate the "technoscience politics" here, there are no "technoscience politics" autonomous from or determinative of that priority -- and also since technodevelopmentally progressive politics has many expressions and mostly plays out at a finer level of detail than is captured by broad ideological formulations and manifestos and that sort of thing anyway.

I would be remiss, I suppose, if I did not point out that in the past I did indeed use that "technoprogressive" term as a shorthand signifier for technoscientifically literate technodevelopmentally progressive politics, and in a way that distressingly did seem to aspire at a kind of position-taking and program. I stopped using it any more when I realized that transhumanists and other Robot Cult types were using it in their PR efforts to mainstream their message.

But the larger lesson I learned from that prior mistake was the technoprogressive term, in creating a space of supposed identification/ dis-identification, was always vulnerable to such an appropriation precisely because it lends itself to a more abstract and inapt "technology politics" involving subcultural signaling (and crass self-promotion/ marketing moves in its Robot Cultic forms) rather than the concrete political questions of stakeholder cost/ risk/ benefit assessment in the moment, sustainability and democratization issues, stratification of distributional effects by class/ race/ gender/, institutional analysis, and the stuff where the rubber really hits the road.

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