The ecology of linking technologies: toward a non-instrumental look at new technological repertoires
AbstractThe article examines one of the analytical fronts dealt with in the doctoral thesis “Making Sense in the Contemporary City: Young People and New Technological Repertoires”. The paper focuses on the follow-up and examination of the framework of technological relationships between human and non-human agents. The study allowed us to advance in the comprehension of the new technological repertoires (mobile telephone, chat, Internet) not as isolated instruments which are added to the social life of the subjects, but as technological mediations for the construction of social links, that is, as linking machines. The people do not relate with discrete and individualized technologies but with authentic technological settings in which both convergent and divergent relationships are generated. We denominate this conjunction of technologies as the ecology of technologies. It proposes eight technological techno-mediation linking systems which are useful for analyzing the variations of the techno-linking settings of the urban young people, that is, the variation of ways in which young people operate different technologies to build and strengthen their social links.. It questions some of the frequently simplifying conceptions regarding “the young user of new technologies”.
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