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STS and the city: politics and practices of hope

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/2007
<mark>Journal</mark>Science, Technology, and Human Values
Issue number6
Volume32
Number of pages22
Pages (from-to)713-734
StatePublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Many recent studies on network technologies and cities share an alarmist view of the impact of technological or regulatory change in utility sectors on the social and spatial fabric of cities, pointing to growing discrimination and inequalities, alienation, enhanced social exclusion and urban "splintering" on a universal scale.

A science and technology study (STS) perspective on these matters is helpful in moving beyond this "universal alarmism" by emphasizing the ambivalence inherent to all technologies, the significant potential of contestation of, and resistance, to technology-supported forms of discrimination, and the deeply contingent nature of the process of appropriation of new technologies and, as a consequence, of the social "effects" of technologies. Adopting this perspective would mean actively searching for and exploring these context-dependent and often conflictive appropriation processes. For it is in these spaces that we might begin to identify urban technological politics that break free from an intellectually and politically disabling technological pessimism.