Critique of Technology

Dr. Stephen Petrina is a Professor of Media & Technology Studies in the Department of Curriculum & Pedagogy at the University of British Columbia. I am inspired by his resourceful work (in progress) historicizing the critique of media and technology:
Critique of Technology (DRAFT, 2015).

In response to Latour’s (2004) groundbreaking essay, Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern, Petrina argues that critique is:

a practice that has run out of steam. “Critical distance” from or “free relation” to media and technology — a seductive orientation since the 1940s — has been instrumental in critique’s gradual decline. The critique of critique has quickened the decline. The conclusion questions the short-term future of machinic critique and long-term renewal of spiritual critique.

This chapter begins with the spiritual critique of media and technology and continues with cultural criticism, social, psychic, ontic, and identic critiques, including an expansive historical scale and geographic scope:

  • Spiritual Critique of Media & Technology, 550 BCE – 1400 CE
  • Cultural Criticism of Media and Technology, 1450 – 1820
  • Social Critique of Media and Technology, 1840 – 1900
  • Psychic and Ontic Critique of Media and Technology, 1910 – 1970
  • Identic Critique of Media and Technology, 1975 – 2001

Petrina concludes by questioning the short-term future of machinic critique and long-term renewal of spiritual critique.