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Technology Within Every-Day-Life: What People Could Do - What People Can Do - What People Do. Towards Another Psychology of Technology in 21 th Century. 1
For reasons I will remember and quote what I read some twenty-five years ago, when I was a student of the social sciences, on "technology" as written by a radical critic of "The Capital" published in 1867 in his anatomy of economy. In the 13th chapter on "Machinery and Great Industry" Carl Marx, in a footnote, annotated on both conceptual and methodological aspects of any critical social
science quite sophistically:
"Technology discloses the active relation of man towards nature, as well as the direct process of production of his very life, and thereby the process of production of his basic societal relations, and of his own mentality and his images of society, too." 2
Moreover, I will take the liberty -if I may- and remind my scholarly reader -he or she- what some twenty years ago, when I was graduated as a social psychologist, some leading figures of that network self- naming themselves "the scientific community" called "a new paradigm": In Germany for example the notorious pollster lady Mrs. Noelle-Neumann-Maier-Leibnitz, from the Allensbach oracle, publicly shoutet out her abrupt turnaround ("the white ele- phant") and taught us that all of the media we are used to and using are no longer "powerful" but, on the very contrary, have to be handled as most "effectivenessless", above all TV. Moreover, there was a new basic question, and everyone -he or she- who really wants to carreer better said Farewell to old Paul Lazarsfeld et alii asking the other way around: What (so) ever the media (may) do with (the) people overnight was a strictly prohibited area -- What-Do-the-People-with-the-Media became main- stream concept of every bulk scientist dealing with it...
Be it as it ever may be: What I´d like to conceptualize -if I were a scientist with strong interest on problems of the aesthetics, media, and technology within 21th century any longer- would really not be just a bit more elaborated but another basic look on the field. Not only what people do with all those technical apparatus which they are currently using -like phone mobile, electronic mailing and all around world- wide-web e.g.- is of grande scholarly interest. But the more another, at least double- widened, perspective which, indeed, is due to another logic, the dialectic one aiming the third ("tertium datur"). For what people could do with every-day-technique is from my viewpoint as important as what people can do with all of the technical things in- corporated within current daily life (even whenever typically not done by common people). Whoever is asking narrowly for what people empirically do what they do when using advanced technique will get an answer due to the question: People just do what they do while doing what they do in the way they do - an issue which is - as I feel - not only as banal as obscure and cloudy but has been characterized (by Th. W. Adorno) as Verdoppelungsrealismus, occuring whenever social scientist "forget" thinking before entrepreneuring empirical projects.
According to any scholarly approaches beyond rubbish data and/or bullshit psycho- logy not only all that what exists (empirically is) -the visible- and what people ever do when coping with current technology within every-day-life is of scholarly interest but also, and the more, that what people could do -the potential application- and what people can do -the conditional application- using technical things in a specific manner... making things which are still unvisible progressively more and more visible.
I am quite sure these two new paths may be a long way but are, prospectively, steps towards a human future leading to another use of technology, its media, and its aesthetics.
Richard Albrecht is a social scientist and psychologist: http://richard-albrecht.de. He got his first Ph.D. in cultural studies (Dr.phil. 1976) and his second one in political science (Dr. rer.pol.habil. 1989). He is the author of more than a dozen books, about 650 other pieces, two curricula and a research manual. Richard Albrecht´s most impressive scholarly work is his essay ´The Utopian Paradigm´ (as published in 1991; an abridged version according to the theoretical concept was recently published within this network under the title: "Tertium: Ernst Bloch´s Foundation of ´The Utopian Paradigm´ As a Key Concept Within Cultural and Social Sciences Research Work"; http://www.hausarbeiten.de/faecher/hausarbeit/phg/25119.html). Before his retirement -in 1999- the author was a lecturer/reader at German universities (GH Siegen; WWU Munster, WH Mannheim). From 2001 to 2004 Richard Albrecht was an honourary judge, since 2002 he is the managing editor of rechtskultur.de, the online-magazine for Human Rights in Germany: http://de.geocities.com/earchiv21/rechtskulturaktuell.htm. As an free-lanced independent scholar Richard Albrecht is basically interested in (i) theories of human acting, and acting human; (ii) the meaning of fuzzy logics and dynamic processes within human actions, and (iii) another methodology related to empirical research work within cultural studies. The author lives in Bad Muenstereifel in the very south of Northrhine-Westphalia As an honourary capacity, Richard Albrecht is still teaching ´´Administrative Behaviour, As Founded by the Social Sciences" (´Sozialwissenschaftliche Grundlagen des Verwaltungshandelns")
1 an abridged version of this paper was presented to the congress "Innovations for an e-Society: Challenges for Technology Assessment" (Berlin, Oct. 17-19, 2001: the cultural section; vide "http://www.itas.fzk.de/e-society"); former contributions of mine on media & technology appeared in German; vide "Computerisierte Le- bensführung" (Kunst & Therapie, 12/1987); "Bilder-Welten" (medium, 3/1987; en- larged version under another title: Die Rolle der elektronischen Medien in der Entwicklung der Künste, ed. Alphons Silbermann; P. Lang, 1987); "Technik - Me- dizin - Handeln" (Gesundheit und Medien, ed. Walter Nutz; Quintessenz, 1997).
This commentary however follows my own basic concept as published ten years ago as "The Utopian Paradigm" (Communications. The European Journal of Com- munication, ed. A. Silbermann/W. Nutz, 3/1991)
2 my own translation. Originally in German: "Die Technologie enthüllt das aktive Ver- halten des Menschen zur Natur, den unmittelbaren Produktionsprozess seines Le- bens, damit auch seiner gesellschaftlichen Lebensverhältnisse und der ihnen ent- quellenden geistigen Vorstellungen". - Whenever comparing to this passage - how confusing that concept "technology" a modernist sociologist like Manuel Castells actually presents in his prologue of "The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture" altering explanans and explanandum when he remarks in a pseudo-Marxist phrase on the relationship between technology and society:
"To large extent technology expresses the ability of a society to propel itself into technological mastery through the institutions of society, including the state. The historical process through which this development of productive forces takes place earmarks the characteristics of technology and interweaving in social relationships." (pp. 12/13, sec.ed./1st vol.) [quotation in the German ed./translated by Reinhart Köss- ler, which appeared in autumn/fall 2001 at Leske + Budrich publ. house, p. 13]
- Quote paper
- Dr. Richard Albrecht (Author), 2005, Technology Within Every-Day-Life: What People Could Do - What People Can Do - What People Do. Towards Another Psychology of Technology in 21 th Century., Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/109208