• Cult-B: The Sociology of Everyday Technologies in a Globalized World

    (Kristen Karlberg, SUNY Purchase)

    This Seminar is available to all students. No background required. Recommended for students interested in Sociology, Media Studies, Language & Technology

    In recent sociological scholarship, the taken-for-granted nature of certain kinds of technologies has been explored in the perspective of the geospatial and geographical location of the experience of the technologies themselves. Technologies are very different given the timing in which they are experienced. Sociologically, the society experiencing and interacting with the technologies also shape and are shaped by the emerging and taken-for granted technologies. This mini-course is an interrogation of the cultural and social implications of some of the most common, global uses of technologies we can scarcely live without, as well as a reflection on some maybe we should use less or in different ways. We explore the “language” of technologies and how it is bounded by culture, society, age, class, gender, sexuality and race.

    Day 1. How are technologies sociological?
    --Technological determinism and technological momentum
    --social constructionism

    Day 2. Taken for granted technologies, globalization and cultures
    --Language, wheels, land-line telephones, computers
    --the internet, cell phones

    Day 3: Uses and abuses of technologies
    --Surveillance, social control, exploitation,
    --Knowledge, collaboration, curiosity

    Day 4: Privacy and technologies
    --Global satellites, GPS,
    --I have nothing to hide
    --What is privacy?

    Day 5: Medical technologies and everyday life
    --Radiology, genetics, biometrics
    --medical “norms” and “standards”

    Day 6: Health and Fitness Technologies
    --Medical surveillance
    --the panopticon of “health” and “wellness”
    --medical nanotechnologies and telemedicine

    Day 7: Technologies, Society and Inequalities
    --Global and cultural interpretations
    --Who deserves access to these technologies of everyday life?
    --How is this determined?

    Day 8: Everyday technologies and Society