Technology and Government: The Pursuit of Governmental Technologies in the Present

Technology and Government: The Pursuit of Governmental Technologies in the Present

Alejandro Ochoa-Arias (Universidad de Los Andes, Venezuela)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-860-4.ch003
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Abstract

This chapter develops an argument of both technology and government as historically determined phenomena within what has been called liberalism. Technology helps the government to make clear and assist with individuals’ choices. The author asks the question about the existence of an alternative ideological framework to guide the use and implementation of both government and technologies and defines possible ways forward for the pursuit of citizenship in societies.
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Technology In The Present

There is not doubt that technology plays a key role in the conduction of our current affairs. It could be argued that technology allowed us to grasp a new way of being human. Technology makes us free from external constraints and internal shortcomings to deal with the world. In this sense, technology can be understood as the constitution of a “world of second order” based on certainty and predictability. Indeed, the claim of technology as a vehicle for alienation of human beings from their own contexts of meaning or life, has been a common complaint among social theorists who considers the whole process of technology as being beyond the control of human being, at least in the current state of affairs. Of course, there is another group of advocates who claim that technology is an inevitably process in which human being is engaged in the realization of a natural condition for human being to become “homos faber” (Arendt, 1958).

However, these claims are misleading. On the one hand, technology has been considered as leading towards a determinism of society in which power is channeled and exercised by a very exclusive elite based on technical reasons. In this sense, scientific knowledge and technology have been a birth mark of authoritarian processes based on power-knowledge as it was explained by Foucault. The process of linking knowledge as a constitutive part of the rationale upon which society is designed and governed implied a growing role for the experts and an ever diminishing role for the multitude or masses. In this regard, technological determinism would drive human being to a comfortable life but without freedom. It could be understood as a totalizing life in which human beings become stranded from themselves in order to adapt to a complex technical world. A second possibility opens up a way towards an understanding of technology as providing an ever changing arena for the debate and collective construction of the future by considering technological devices and rationale as the most advanced stance of human beings in building up their own constitution as “homo sapiens”. (see Feenberg for a complete account on this perspective) (Feenberg, 2002)

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