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The moral technical imaginaries of internet convergence in an American television network

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Abstract

How emergent technologies are imagined, discussed, and implemented reveals social morality about how society, politics, and economics should be organized. For the television industry in the United States, for instance, the development of internet “convergence” provoked the rise of a new discourse about participatory democracy as well as the hopes for lucrative business opportunities. The simultaneity of technical, moral, and social ordering defines the “moral technical imaginary.” Populating this concept with ethnographic and historical detail, this article expands the theory of the moral technical imaginary with information from six years of participant observation, interviews, and employment with Current TV, an American-based television news network founded by Vice President Al Gore to democratize television production. This chapter explores the limits of political participation and morality when faced with neoliberal capitalism.