What is the main argument, narrative and affect of this text?


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January 7, 2021

Today, "shizen" and "Nature" are taken to be more or less equivalent in today, both referring to a realm of forces and entities independent of human activity, but also available to humans as a resource. But when the "Nature" concept was introduced to Japan during the 1800s, no corresponding concept existed. Through a partial similarity in meaning, Nature came into contact with shizen, which was derived from the Chinese ziran, which can refer to an action or artefact independent of human will (Jensen and Morita 2015, 5). While this led to the adoption of shizen as a translation of nature, shizen continued to mean more than "nature," carrying differences originating with ziran that were incompatible with the Western notion of nature. (Shizen, for instance, could not, at the time, refer to "a general domain nor to a collection of entities." (5) in the way that "Nature" can). These other meanings were not erased under the influence of Western thought on Japan, but neither were they simply adjacent to “Nature” as an alternative. Rather, they generated multiple "minor traditions" in Japanese anthropology entailing knowledge and world-making practices that were different to, but not wholly separate from those of the Euro-American social sciences that were becoming hegemonic. Nature and shizen are both diverse and inter-related.

May 14, 2019

 The main argument of the author is that even though there are various misinterpretations regarding technological determinism, which ultimately leads to either refuting or for subtle analysis of the phenomenon, she asserts that the characteristics of technological determinism still exists. She also argues that how STS for 25 years was refuting the primary premises of technological determinism the same way as technological development is taking place outside of the social world, but failed to understand technological determinism as a whole. She argues for a serious discussion around technological determinism

May 14, 2019

The author strongly emphasises study upon differentiating of computing as a methodological tool or as a cultural act. His focus is mainly upon the area of how computation as a cultural act influences the nature of work and employment. The literature he focuses on is based on the critique of the technological revolution.  He believes that his ideas will contribute to the theories of actor-network theories regarding technology.

In his words, "In the future, more attention should be directed to the most general contexts of computing, those extending beyond organizational boundaries. The class, gender, racial/ethnic and international cultures in which individuals participate, and the way in which such cultures both encourage and limit the range of strategies available for human intervention, greatly influence the dynamics of information practice. A more mature study of computing as a cultural process will lead to more successful techniques for system development as well as the identification of social policies more conducive to humane information practices"

His also focuses upon how skill, one of the central idea defining the nature of work is influenced by computation or technological interventions. He uses the ideas and studies of Braverman () who came with the idea of 'deskilling 'in the industries as a result of technological advancement.  On the other hand, Autor's idea also is analogical to what Braverman () said. “The notion that new technology tends to undermine worker skill in the labour process was central to Braver man’s "degradation of work" thesis (17).”Deskilling" was a consequence of the way in which capitalists selecting technologies that reduced worker control in order to reduce workers' collective social power. Whether new technology deskills has been a primary focus of post-Braverman studies of work, especially of computing"

May 14, 2019

The author defines computing as equal to any new technology since most of the workplace technology is transformed into computation or usage of computers. There is a prevailing common sense logic which interprets this as an example of computer-based technology transforming the nature of work and how this change transforms the society. The main argument of the author is that this is a false understanding of technology and its correlation stems from a technicist perspective. He gives an alternative schema to understand any correlation between work and computing or technology.  This alternative analytical scheme is called the actor-network theory. By quoting Castell's argument that "new technology and change in political economy as the dual sources of the 'informational city,'() which he sees as the characteristic new spatial form" the author points to the interplay of other factors such as political economy, urbanism, gender etc in ' redefining the nature of work and thus bring change or transformation in the society 

May 14, 2019

By refuting the epistemology of the standard view of technology, the author emphasises the importance of social coordination of labour in relation to technology. He gives an alternative viewpoint antithetical to a normative, masculine, ethnocentric, standard view of technology.

"Sociotechnical system, in contrast (to a standard narration of technology), refers to the distinctive technological activity that stems from the linkage of techniques and material culture to the social coordination of labour. The proper and indispensable subjects of social anthropology of technology, therefore, include all three: techniques, sociotechnical systems, and material culture"( ). He asserts that this methodological and analytical tool to understand the technology open up the scrolls of technology, as we perceive in common sense, technological intervention is not new in the modern industrial society. He argues that the logic behind any artefacts is determined by its two functional aspects, one is its technological aspect and another is the socio-cultural factors 

May 14, 2019

The author is trying to look at two factors emerging due to the interplay between labour and technology or skill and digitalisation. The main argument put forward by the author is a transformation of technology is having a deep impact on the labour markets. The changes are also reflected back in the labour economy relations.  Autor's hypothesis of routine-biased technological change (RBTC) assumes that technology or ‘digital capital' can cause substitution for human labour power in the middling routine tasks, which leads to an excess supply of workers with medium-skills. Those medium-skilled workers, who are displaced or thrown out from the have to find an alternative one which asks different skill requirements in the complex digital job market. Which is a result,   job polarization across the economy. In other words, the author argues that today's availability of work or employment is highly defined by the complex interplay between worker skills and digital capital in doing certain tasks.

May 14, 2019

" The state of Indiana denied one million applications for Healthcare, food stamps and cash benefits in three years - because a new computer system interpreted any application mistake as " failure to cooperate". In Los Angeles, an algorithm calculates the comparative vulnerability of tens of thousands of homeless people in order to prioritise them for an inadequate pool of housing resources. In Pittsburgh, a child welfare agency uses a statistical model to try to predict which children might be future victims of abuse or neglect" The major argument of the book is the process of automation through algorithms, computer systems and artificial intelligence increase the vulnerability of the poor by profiling, policing and punishing them using the above mentioned high tech tools.

May 14, 2019

By quoting Levi (2008) the author argues that "the ultimate impact of new advances will depend on the policy choices of governments, the production choices of firms, the labour supply and consumption behaviour of workers and consumers, and their voting behaviour as democratic citizens. Over time, some technologies will thus deploy faster than others and some occupations will be disrupted faster than others. The sequence and speed of developments and people’s reactions to the developments will jointly determine how the economy evolves"().

In the context of this argument, he pleads that technology is not a monocausal factor in the economic and industrial changes as assumed by the popular narrations of automation and its resulting job loss. But he places this main argument in how technology influences the entire industrial process. He gives an alternative viewpoint of how certain paradigmatic changes of economy, industry and labour are mediated through technology. "Even if new technologies do not necessarily destroy jobs, they will radically affect the quality and composition of jobs. They will affect how individuals find work and how they are monitored while performing it" The entire essence of the article can be seen in these precise words.

May 14, 2019

The main theme of the article is its focus on how certain popular notions regarding technology and labours and its linear correlation are misleading towards certain assumptions in academia. The emphasis put upon technology destroying labour opportunities is critically evaluated in the text. The main argument of the article is that technology is not antithetical to labour power. In most cases, it complements the existing structure of labour. A cause and effect analysis of technologies related to production and labour gives a picture of how automation swept out most of the jobs. The author argues that it is one of the factors that determine the production, labour cost and employment opportunities. There are many social, political, economic and cultural factors which determine the pattern of employment, production and nature of work. These factors do vary across different sections of labour. From high skilled abstract jobs to low skilled manual jobs the impact of technology and other factors showcase different results.  The author breaks the conventional assumptions through different studies conducted by himself.

 "This essay has emphasized that jobs are made up of many tasks and that while automation and computerization can substitute for some of them, understanding the interaction between technology and employment requires thinking about more than just substitution. It requires thinking about the range of tasks involved in jobs, and how human labour can often complement new technology. It also requires thinking about price and income elasticity’s for different kinds of output, and about labour supply responses"

May 13, 2019

The main argument of the chapters by Aihwa Ong is about the transformation of world order, where the assemblage of various agents, technocrats. Economic institutions and technology define and produce the phenomenon of global assemblages. It is no longer viewed by the world that development is a unilinear, hierarchical way of material progress which ultimately leads to socio-economic wellbeing of a community. their main argument is that the regime is not defining citizenship based on nativity, regionalism, caste etc, but an aspiration of producing  expertise and their contribution to the technologically enhanced  'development is defining the priorities of citizenship. This doesn’t mean that the earlier hierarchical structures were completely eroded with the invasion and envisioning of ' global assemblages’, but at least they are in conflict with this new way of flexible service-oriented economy. Aihwa Ong gives the example of biopower boom in Singapore and ITES corridor in Malaysia having a continuous threat from the existing 'political societies' such as native Chinese in Singapore. the author also talks about the issues related to the emergence of biopolitics and counter-politics to it as the empirical example of how global assemblages are having resistance from the ground and how it becomes a study material to understand the interrelation between ethics, politics and technology.