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Technology and 'the international' or: how I learned to stop worrying and love determinism
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-08, 14:36 authored by Daniel McCarthy
Technological determinism as a theory of social change has been thoroughly tarnished in social theory, science and technology studies, and the discipline of International Relations. If once claims to an ahistorical development of technology (e.g. Cohen 1978) were treated with significant respect, this is no longer the case. Indeed, it is by now a ritual to disclaim any notion of technological determinism in theories of international relations and the non-human world (Peoples 2010; Herrera 2006; McCarthy 2011). Yet we must be careful of not throwing out the power of technological determinations with the teleological bathwater. This paper attempts to develop a sociological account of technological determinism as dependent upon ‘the international’. I will argue that technological determinism operates due to the presence of multiple political communities. Technological determinism is thereby reconceptualised as a distinct form of power in international politics.
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