From the ‘Technological Unconscious’ to the ‘Technicity of the Subject’

Authors: Thomas Keating*, UNSW Canberra
Topics: Cultural Geography, Social Theory
Keywords: Technology, Philosophy, Social Theory, Subjectivity, Technicity, Unconscious
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Marriott Ballroom Salon 2, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


There is a question of technology that runs in the writing of Ramond Ruyer, André Leroi-Gourhan, Georges Canguilhem, and Gilbert Simondon that reflects a broader concern in twentieth century European thought to criticize the way technologies have their genesis in enhancing life, but then come to be understood differently to the thought and logic that informed the point of their invention. This recent concern with technology would be a rekindling of a longer-run question about the distinction between technê and epistēmē, and about how this distinction instigates certain assumptions about the way we come to think the relationship between the organism and the machine. Technology would be a question of how we come to inhabit particular systems enacting process, and yet also concerns the way certain categories of thought – conscious and unconscious – become subordinated and formalised. Drawing upon geography’s engagement with the ways technologies are involved in producing certain kinds of distributed subjectivity, this paper engages with the ‘unconscious’ by considering how geography might reconceptualise the technological ‘ghost in the machine’. It argues that this task is less about a broad form of ‘technological unconscious’ than the generation specific kinds of technological thought – or what Simondon (2017) names ‘technicity’ – that opens up avenues for rethinking the relationship between technology and the production of subjectivity.

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