Social Epistemology 19 (4):315 – 319 (2005)
This brief position paper explores our current confrontation with technology through a model of the accident. Focusing on failure, risk and malfunctioning technology, the paper offers the notion of disasterologies as an alternative approach to technology studies. Such an approach suggests both a less deterministic and instrumentalized drive than is often found in theories of technology and society as well as a less certain role of the subject in its relation to technology. Disasterologies re-imagines the accident as that which eludes the modern subject's mastery over the built environment through scientific knowledge and "technological rationality." By foregrounding when technology fails, disasterologies implies a subject neither entirely in control nor entirely at the mercy of technology, one whose condition of contingency re-opens questions of agency, intentionality, and subjectivity itself.
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