Yeaman, Postman, and Borgman*
1. Based upon you interpretation of the Yeaman article and your experiences, how would you define â€œcritical theory?â€ What key terms do you feel are needed to create this definition? Write a brief definition and include a list of 5 terms (not including critical & theory).
Critical theory is the ability to disseminate relevant material from all sides of a discussion, scientific conclusion, and/or basis of knowledge and determine the value of it true meaning both within the constraints of society and as far-reaching as possible. The following terms should be considered when determining a precise definition of "critical theory:"
â€¢ social relations
â€¢ excessive rationality
â€¢ intellectual and pedagogical repertoires
â€¢ fair assessment by multiple experts
â€¢ cultural analysis
The article seems to lean toward the fact that everyone is allowed to have an opinion about the matters being discussed, but the opinions of those individuals deemed as leaders of the field tend to have more weight associated with their rationale.
2. Several of the articles have points in which they discuss ways in which we should look at any new technology almost a lens through which we should scrutinize any new technology. What are your thoughts/ reactions to their ideas?
a. Yeaman (p.10) had a quote from Mander (1991) in the article which stated â€œassume all technology guilty until proven innocent.â€
b.Do you agree with Postmanâ€™s statement (Postman, p. 4,5) that â€œevery technology is both a burden and a blessing; not either-or, but this-and-that.â€ Technology is not neutral?
The statements in both the Yeaman and Postman articles are noteworthy to me on multiple levels. I tend to agree with both statements, but I also think that there are multiple words that could be substituted for "technology" within each sentence. In essence, technology is no different than placing trust in a stranger or determining what tomorrow's weather will be like. I assume that when I press the letter "k" on my keyboard that a "k" will appear on the screen. I assume that when I move my mouse to the word "File" at the top of my screen, I can maneuver it to "Print," and, assuming I'm connected to a printer, I will be able to spit out my typing on a piece of paper. I assume this because I have accomplished the same thing for numerous years.
If I meet a stranger, and he asks me for money or help with his car, I can take visual, audial, and spatial clues to determine how truthful he might be. It is definitely reasonable that I could make an inaccurate decision about the individual. I may give him money even though he's a con artist. But it's also possible that when I press "k," my computer could freeze, or when I try to print, an error may occur. This can happen to technophiles or those who have severe difficulty in using a computer, just the same that a psychiatrist may have extreme difficultly in reading the true intentions of a particular patient.
3. â€œDevices, [â€¦,] dissolve the coherent and engaging character of the pretechnological world of things. In a device, the relatedness of the world is replaced by a machinery, but the machinery is concealed, and the commodities, which are made available by the device, are enjoyed without the encumbrance of or engagement with a context.â€ (Borgman, 1984, p. 47). â€œCommodities and their consumption constitute the professed goal of the technological enterpriseâ€ (Borgman, 1984, p.48). React.
Borgman is right, to a certain extent, that everyone is "directly and explicitly engaged with the machinery of devices" at work. But how could this be avoided? Even the earliest humans depended on some types of tools, the wheel, fire, etc., to live an extremely basic life. It is true, however, that the advent of a new machine or piece of technology can become firmly attached to a particular way of life. What I disagree with is Borgman's assertion that the consumption of said commodity necessarily relates to a technological achievement. When shopping at the grocery store, I do not always envision every apparatus involved in the assembly of a can of soup or TV dinner. Quite possibly, I'm so far removed from their production that it has virtually no bearing on my decision of purchasing it.
Many technologies exist that the general public are not aware of or do not fully understand. But this has been the case at least since mankind began settlements and started specializing in trade. I have seen a wheelwright and a blacksmith in action at Colonial Williamsburg, but I am not entirely interested in becoming an apprentice in either profession. Skills in "technology" can mean any number of things, so therefore, it is most certainly worth at least broad exposure to what exists rather than globally discrediting any sort of scientific knowledge.