Our co-edited collection, focusing on families and homes, takes up the longstanding question of whether technologies help or harm us—are they opening possibilities or taking away initiatives and agency? Are they delivering us to utopian shores or pulling us into chaos and dystopia?
This question has a long history. It was contentious in the USA in the mid 1950’s, with progressive politician Adlai Stevenson admonishing female graduates to monitor tech in their homes to ensure the development of democratic and civil etiquettes (John Beck and Ryan Bishop, Technocrats of the Imagination: Art, Technology, and the Military Industrial Avant-Garde, p. 39). American feminist Betty Friedan got wind of this exhortation, and fired back that it was not up to women to keep domestic sites tech safe: clean and neat—this problem was of national and global scale, not for home-sized management.
The chapters in the collection look at the wonders of tech—and the worries that still abound. As we leave pandemic culture that grounded us in technological solutions and connections, we are now free and even charged with asking questions about how to limit technology in our lives –to keep us active and healthy—let alone free and independent.
Chapters here look at technologies influencing home life—where they help and where they block talk and thought and initiatives. We will draw out some of these connections in future posts, now that P/I/K is out and available.