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824 - Representations of Technology and the Technology of Representations: Translocal Appropriations in Contemporary Culture

19.07.2012 | 08:00 - 13:30
19.07.2012 | 17:30 - 19:30

Convener 1: Ayora Diaz, Steffan Igor (Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan , Merida, Mexico / Mexiko)

This session will address the conditions, modes of relation, and imaginations that shape different groups’ relation to emerging technologies. Some key issues will be important in this discussion: first, that imagination does not refer to ungrounded individual fantasies but, instead, it is what propels individuals into action and has origins in, and is directed toward a collectively recognized social and material world. Second, that the focus on emerging technologies allows for understanding the complex processes that lead to their dissemination and the social responses to them (appropriation, resistance, adaptation, or outright rejection). Technologies are devised to transform the relations among human beings and between human beings and their milieu . Technologies are important in the colonization and instrumental relation to the material world, and in the cultural colonization and subordination of societies or groups within. In that sense, they are born out of a context in which gender, ethnic, national, economic, and political agendas favor or prevent their creation, development and innovation, while, on the other hand, at local and translocal levels, gender, ethnic, nationalistic, economic and political agendas may favor or prevent their dissemination or condition unequal forms of appropriation. Third, that in the social imaginary, individuals and their groups produce, maintain, and encourage the imagination of both positive and negative impacts that emerging technologies may have on the material, social, cultural, economic and political world we live in. Fourth, and lastly, that those technologies themselves, through their mediation of the subjective, inter-subjective, social and cultural experiences can have the effect of modifying the perception of the material and socio-cultural world and hence, contribute to shape social practices, discourses and.  

Since the end of the twentieth century, anthropologists have had to devise new methodological strategies to face the complexity of contemporary processes, and the speed of social, cultural, economic and political transformations. The contemporary world is changing fast, and technologies mediate that change and our perception of change. In this sense, we find important and timely to explore the ways in which our perception of technology mediates our relation to the contemporary world, and the ways in which new technology has contributed to shape and inform the perception of the world itself.  

Latin American societies have been recipients of technologies disseminated from countries placed in the North Atlantic, and have submitted to reforms that have facilitated the displacement of local, regional and national social structures and cultural codes, and changed the local organization of production of commodities addressing citizens’ needs in favor of the transnational market. The local, national and international material cultures have changed through the introduction of different technologies, and the cultural meaning and the modalities of social interaction have also changed with the aid and intervention of technological means. It is thus that the papers in this symposium seek to address the representations and the imagination of new and emerging technologies and of their effects on the social, cultural, material world, and the ways in which technologies mediate and organize the perception and the ensuing individual and social practices that intervene over everyday life in the Americas.

Keywords: New Technologies, Imagination, Representations, Latin America

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