Rethinking the DigitalI don't like using the digital as a label particularly given Michael Lascarides' line about digital being the new horseless. Michael is the Chief Tech Officer for the NYPL labs. As a library it has much to teach formal education about how to exploit the digital. Rethinking the digital is a grand aim for what remains a pressing problem, i.e. given what is unfolding in bit space, big data, smart devices/bodies, the internet of things etc. Are the sensibilities I have made a lot of use of in thinking about things digital, i.e. actor-network theory up to the task? The only way to find out, is as Savage, Ruppert and Law (2010)1 argue (p.14):
Rather than assuming a simple teleology in which the former simply displace the older, we have recommended a genealogical approach that is alive both to the ways in which digital devices reconfigure expertise and institutional circuits, and the ways that social agents of various kinds contest their value and efficacy. At the same time, we have argued that it is important to attend to their distinctive qualities as ‘automated’ devices in which data are by-products that do not require the awareness or intervention of transacting individuals or academic experts. If we are to do this well we will need to vary the magnification as we explore the chains of relations and practices enrolled in the social science apparatus.I have some current writing tasks that are not in any shape to pop online yet that are struggling with these issues.