Tecnica e Potere

October 9, 2024 - October 11, 2024
Department of Humanistic Studies, University of Naples Federico II

via Porta di Massa I
Napoli 80128

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University of Naples Federico II

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The international conference “Technology and Power”, organized by the “Mechane Lab” (Laboratory of Philosophy of Technology) at the University of Naples “Federico II”, is set to take place on the 9th, 10th, and 11th of October 2024. This conference seeks to explore the intricate relationship between technology and power, a theme that resonates from prehistoric times to the modern era.

Technology has always played a pivotal role in human history, with technical systems and objects shaping societies and their power structures. According to Bernard Stiegler, building on André Leroi-Gourhan’s reflections, human society differs from animals due to its extensive use of technical objects. This distinction emphasizes technology’s capacity to preserve and recirculate operational sequences, memories, and experiences.

These patterns of technology and power have been explored through various philosophical and sociological perspectives. Michel Foucault's work, for example, introduces the concept of the “apparatus”, a heterogeneous set of discourses, architectural structures, laws, and scientific statements. This concept has sparked numerous studies on governance, focusing on how these elements are interwoven in societal systems.

Shifting to contemporary interpretations, Bruno Latour’s Actor-Network Theory (ANT) emphasizes networks that enable, divert, or hinder social action. This perspective offers a dynamic view of how technology influences power dynamics. From this angle, technology isn't just a set of tools, but a network of interactions that shape society’s trajectory.

To further understand the intersection of technology and power, it is also worth considering the work of other historians and theorists. Marc Bloch, Steven Shapin, Simon Schaffer, and Elizabeth Eisenstein have explored the complex trajectories that technical products and social formations take throughout history. Their insights into how technology affects social organization provide a broader context for the conference's theme.

Returning to the present, authors like Bernard Stiegler and Byung-Chul Han have highlighted the social repercussions of current technological developments, with a focus on profit maximization and individual economic freedom. This modern perspective raises questions about the influence of technology on social structures and the broader implications for society.

Given these varied interpretations, the conference aims to delve deeper into the relationship between technology and power. It will examine not only historical trends but also the contemporary issues raised by AI and the climate crisis. By addressing these themes, the conference hopes to contribute to a greater understanding of how technology shapes social power dynamics and the implications for our collective future.

Ultimately, the goal is to foster a rich discussion that bridges multiple theoretical perspectives, focusing on how technology and power intersect and influence each other. This comprehensive exploration will provide attendees with a diverse range of insights into one of the most pressing issues of our time.

·      The constitutive interrelation between technology and social order from the point of view of philosophy and anthropology of technology

·      Contributions of the philosophy and sociology of technology to understanding the climate crisis

·      Descriptive and comparative analyses of the relationship between technique and the exercise of power in different historical epochs

·      The social, political, and economic presuppositions of the development of new tools of power (especially AI and Big data)

We welcome individual or panel submission in Italian and English. Abstract must be max 500 words

The presentations proposals can be sent to: [email protected]

Important Dates:

Deadline for submission: 30 of August, 2024

Acceptance of proposals:  send out by September 5th.

Conference dates: 9-11 October 2024

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