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Genealogy, Culture and Technomyth

Braybrooke, K; Jordan, T; (2017) Genealogy, Culture and Technomyth. Digital Culture & Society , 3 (1) pp. 25-46. 10.14361/dcs-2017-0103. Green open access

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Western-derived maker movements and their associated fab labs and hackerspaces are being lauded by some as a global industrial revolution, responsible for groundbreaking digital “entanglements” that transform identities, practices and cultures at an unprecedented rate (Anderson 2014; Hills 2016). Assertions proliferate regarding the societal and entrepreneurial benefits of these “new” innovations, with positive impacts ascribed to everything, from poverty to connectivity. However, contradictory evidence has started to emerge, suggesting that a heterogeneous set of global cultural practices have been homogenized. This paper employs a materialist genealogical framework to deconstruct three dominant narratives about information technologies, which we call “technomyths” in the tradition of McGregor et al. After outlining the maker movement, its assumptions are examined through three lesser-cited examples: One Laptop per Child in Peru, jugaad in India and shanzhai copyleft in China. We then explore two preceding technomyths: Open Source and Web 2.0. In conclusion, we identify three key aspects as constitutive to all three technomyths: technological determinism of information technologies, neoliberal capitalism and its “ideal future” subjectivities and the absence and/or invisibility of the non-Western.

Type: Article
Title: Genealogy, Culture and Technomyth
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.14361/dcs-2017-0103
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.14361/dcs-2017-0103
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Arts and Sciences (BASc)
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10103177
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