Technologies and Social Change in the Americas (Introduction)

Wilfried Raussert, Bielefeld University, Germany
Olaf Kaltmeier, Bielefeld University, Germany
Robert Curley, Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico
Mario Rufer, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico
Matti Steinitz, Bielefeld University, Germany:

Technologies profoundly shape the development and the interaction of societies and cultures. Technologies are embedded in forms of social life and fields of cultural creativity. [1] They are catalysts for the creation of cultural divides and cultural networks. Technology and culture also directly influence each other. Cultural creativity spurs new technological development. Technological innovation brings forth new cultural media and expressions. Technology comprises of an entire cultural field with ideas and practices concerning how to interact between humans and to relate to non-humans. While there is a long debate on whether technologies are neutral instruments or, on the contrary, if technologies may foster undesirable social developments, it seems that this antagonism is more complex in the contemporary Information Age. Moreover, several technologic devices are integral parts of the body and the production of the social. In posthumanist thinking, technologies question traditional differences and recommend crossing boundaries and a more inclusive attitude towards non-humans, be they natural or artificial. [2]

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