On Some Failures of Nerve in Constructivist and Feminist Analyses of Technology

Science, Technology and Human Values 20 (3):286-310 (1995)
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Abstract

Whereas many constructivist and feminist approaches to the social study of technology share an antipathy to technological tietenninism, they offer an insufficiently radical critique of technolagy. Three main problems in "anti-essentialist" critiques of techno logical determinism are identified, all of which mean that such critiques remain committed to a form of essentialism. These characteristics recur in many recent feminist arguments about technology, illustrated by the example of reproductive technologies. To overcome weaknesses in political radicalism based on anti-essentialism, it is necessary to move to a "past-essentialist" approach. The unwillingness to do so is shown to be based on unfounded objections to "excessive" relativism.

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