On publics in the technological society
DOI link for On publics in the technological society
On publics in the technological society book
This chapter critically discusses how Technology Studies scholars have conceptualised ‘controversies’ and embeds this discussion in an engagement with the idea of ‘multiple publics’. This discussion of various concepts of the public develops a more thorough link between material politics, the importance of controversies and the question of what studying the contestation of encryption can tell us about politics. I focus on the work of Michel Callon and colleagues and Noortje Marres. Their work is instructive for opening up space to engage with alternative notions about how to understand the public in the technological society. Ultimately, however, I argue that other resources are needed to engage with what I call a thick concept of politics. Hence, I turn to John Dewey and his theory of democracy. His ideas have been instructive for STS, but I show that they can be read in a way that highlights how publics always challenge established concepts of political institutions. Building on this discussion, I develop the notion of publicness as a way to highlight the multiple and heterogeneous characters of publics that are emerging.