chapter  7
40 Pages

What Technology Tells Us (to Do) (Part 2)

Narrative Technologies, or Interpreting and Materializing Ricoeur
WithMark Coeckelbergh

This chapter uses Ricoeur’s theory of narrativity to say more about what technologies do and tell us (also: tell us to do), phenomenologically and hermeneutically. The author argue that technology cannot only be read as a “text,” as Ihde suggests, and that there are not only stories about technology, as Kaplan (2006) writes; technologies also have a much more active narrative hermeneutic role, to the extent that they actively configure actors (and actants) and events into a plot. According to Ricoeur, humans interpret their actions within a temporal setting, and, more specifically, in a narrative way. The question regarding determinism presupposes that there are two entirely separate entities or spheres, a human one and a technological one. This split is also assumed by Ricoeur when he distinguishes between human narrative time and scientific time. There are various ways to discuss the relations between power and social media, depending on the social and political theories one uses.