Monica Heller’s Reflections upon Retirement

Image result for monica heller

How did you discover linguistic anthropology? Why did it attract you?

I kind of sidled into it. The initial interest came from growing up in Montréal in the 60s, when everything in everyday life was about language choice, as part of navigating struggles over social difference and social inequality. Somehow it seemed obvious that all this pain and anger and fear couldn’t actually be about language itself; also, I wanted to understand how it made sense to people to take the very different positions they took, without having to assume anyone was inherently evil or insane. I discovered there was a thing called linguistics because my father, who liked hanging around bookstores, came home one day with a magazine for me that featured a cover story about Chomsky. It took me a while to figure out that generative grammar was not going to give me the tools I needed, but it was really helpful to have to figure out why. By this time, I was in college, and saw that an anthropology professor had put a course on Sociolinguistics on the books.

Back in Montréal, “sociolinguistique” was becoming a thing: it was used by academic researchers to investigate the question of the variability of French (a highly charged question in the context of linguistic minority political mobilization) and government ones to develop and implement language policy as part of the construction of Québec as a francophone quasi- or proto-nation-state (as is common in Canada, the relationship between the two spaces of production of la sociolinguistique was close). Also, my mother had gone back to university to study sociology around then, and sent me off to meet two key people she had met there: Gillian Sankoff, at the Université de Montréal, and Pierre Laporte, at the Office de la langue française.

It wasn’t until I went to grad school that I learned there was a thing called linguistic anthropology; to this day, I’ll use whatever label works. I really only use linguistic anthropology for moving around the United States. But the main lesson I retained from all of this is that there often are tools in unexpected places for addressing questions that are bugging you, so it’s a good idea to keep your eyes open. Also, people are really helpful, so you shouldn’t be afraid to knock on someone’s door, even if you’re some 18 year old whose mother took a lecture course with this person ten years earlier.

Why did you decide to study in the United States? What was that like?

Ah, yes. So that wasn’t necessarily the plan. University was definitely the plan; we’re talking immigrant/refugee Jews, do I need to say more? The expectation was that I would follow the footsteps of my parents, aunts and uncles and go to McGill. Then my father found out someone was developing a sideline in advising high school students regarding U.S. schools; in Montréal, going to university in the US, France or England was definitely upward mobility (yes, the relics of colonialism). England required A-levels; France seemed way too unstructured. So – the US, especially its liberal arts programs: there was nothing like that in Canada. Long story short, although I think we all figured I wouldn’t get in and would end up at McGill anyway, I got into Swarthmore, attractive not only because of its liberal arts program and history as a coeducational institution, but also because of its Quaker and pacifist orientation.  I went, curious about this powerful country close by, familiar and yet… so strange.

Then, I decided I wanted to go to grad school. It was clear that the two places where I could actually study exactly what I wanted were Berkeley and Stanford. California felt even farther from any world I was familiar with, but I applied anyway; figuring,  again, I won’t get in, so I’ll also apply to work with Gillian Sankoff at the Université de Montréal, because she said that although she couldn’t train me in the ethnographic methods I wanted to use, she would let me do what I wanted. I got into Berkeley, as it happens, though during my frequent and lengthy research stays in Montréal I was fortunate to be welcomed both in Sankoff’s seminars and in Pierre Laporte’s Service de recherche sociolinguistique at the OLF, profiting hugely from their intellectual and human generosity. So, the best of both worlds.

Although perhaps not a perfect fit in either (but not quite fitting available categories is the story of my life, and I have learned to make good use of it). In Québec, I had these odd, if interesting, ideas about ethnography and the politics of everyday life, quite different from the approaches dominant in Québec at the time: the social psychology of language, technical-yet-engaged language policy, quantitative census-based measures of ethnolinguistic inequality (“démolinguistique”), variationist and lexicographic studies of French.

At Berkeley, strictly speaking, I was an international student; as such, I was expected to eventually go home in order to use the knowledge I acquired in the US to participate in my country’s development. My work in Québec made total sense in that frame (to my fellow students and to my teachers). But at the same time, I was white and my English was way too good; its occasional oddities (oh come on, say “about” for us again) tended to take people aback. No one ever explained the US to me; I was expected to know it. Which in fact sometimes I did (years of watching WCTV Plattsburgh New York helped), until, oops, I didn’t. I was also expected to naturally desire to stay and be American – it would be so easy for me. And I might have, except I didn’t actually want to.

How did you end up an academic in Canada? Was that a career plan you had?

Again, no, not really, I certainly had no particular fixation on being an academic. I thought about writing the exam for the diplomatic corps (both Québec and Canada), or the civil service. I figured I’d end up in language policy somehow; there were lots of models (Pierre Laporte was one of them). But the machine of US grad schools includes applying for university jobs, so I did. I was offered one at LSU in Baton Rouge; I turned it down, partly because opportunities for my partner (an American archaeologist) were limited, but really, I think, because I didn’t want to be there, despite the real interest working in Louisiana presented. The Canadian partner of a grad school buddy of my partner gave me his old copies of a publication which included job ads for academics; there was an out-of-date ad for a post doc in Toronto which offered the possibility of working in the Franco-Ontarian community. The deadline was long past, but I called. They hadn’t been able to fill the position, bizarrely. Anyway, the post-doc turned into a research position, which turned into directing a research centre, which turned into a tenure rack job. Toronto was also outside the known universe, and still is for many Québécois – while I had lived in England, France, the former Yugoslavia and the US, it was only when I got to Toronto that that my family asked whether it is possible to eat okay in this new place. Which, when you think about it, made it a perfect fit for me.

How have you navigated anglophone and francophone worlds?

 I love being able to not be stuck in one linguistic market, and to be forced to think about the same thing differently, or about different things altogether (I am not being all Whorfian here, it’s not the languages, it’s the discursive spaces). I am privileged, obviously, to be even able to participate in two such powerful ones. And even so, it gets complicated. For one thing, there’s the eternal problem of the fact that it is the English-language journals that count more (not to mention that it is the ones based in the US or the UK, not Canada). So I have done some strategizing around which language to publish in, for which audiences. Obviously, its easier to make these choices once you have tenure. But yes, it has been really important to me to develop spaces of knowledge production that are not only in English and not only in the big centres. The centre-periphery thing remains an issue; if you write about the US or France you can be seen as doing theory, or broad issues of general interest. If you write about Canada, you’re writing about Canada. And then there is the language issue. First, you have to turn in a monolingual performance; none of this mixing languages stuff. You can write about it, just don’t actually do it. I do sometimes get some comments on my English, but I was trained in the US, and Canada is understood as having some kind of good neutral English, so that part is easy. I did have to be taught to do academic writing in French; I have Denise Daoust at the OLF who helped me write my first grant application in 1978, and my colleagues in Toronto in the 1980s with whom we did text-exchanges, to thank for that. But the conditions of the market are different; there is more attention to “la qualité de la langue” more policing of language in general. The hierarchy, as it affects me, is France-Québec-rest of Canada. No one believes there are francophones in Toronto; I really believe that when both Québécois and French see my affiliation, they think “oh oh, her French is going to be awful” (plus my name – what is that anyway? Maybe her married name?). Anyway, I am especially proud of having made an editor of the French journal Langage et Société back down, decades ago; I felt they were being all judge-y about la qualité de ma langue. For a sociolinguistics journal, I argued, it seemed odd to not be able to handle discursive variability. They had to agree I had a point. But again – write about it, just don’t do it.

How have you handled being a woman in academia?

 I’m tempted to say “poorly”, which is to say that I could have struggled more loudly. The upside has been being non-threatening, until, well, I got too much power. I have the usual stories to tell about family not taking me seriously, and then doing their best to sabotage me when I didn’t make the right sacrifices; the awful stress of trying to get a job and tenure while having kids and raising them – I’d say I lost my first marriage largely over those issues, even though we really really tried in many ways to make it all work. And of course I beat myself up all the time over whether I did right by my kids. At work, I had one horrible experience of screaming sexism (symbolic violence, rest assured, not physical). And a bunch of everyday ones, the ones I suppose would now be called microaggressions. One huge advantage of having been trained as an interactionist is that I have the tools to unpack the sequences and use the rules to my advantage. The one I like the most is how I responded to being overlooked in favour of a male panellist on a TV show; I noticed he moved into the conversational space a microsecond before the animateur finished his turn. So I worked on beating him to it, and it worked! It’s been difficult to know where to draw the line in mentoring; I don’t really want to be everyone’s mother (I have two kids of my own, I always say), but at the same time I know how important it is to not pretend we are pure disembodied intellects. So maybe the right answer to the question is “it’s been a struggle, but welcome to the universe; I have done my best to struggle well”.

Judith T. Irvine and Susan Gal on their new book

Signs of Difference: Language and Ideology in Social Life by [Gal, Susan, Irvine, Judith T.]

https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/signs-of-difference/E69813363E4CD9927C6C8E1BD2FC3011

Interview by Hannah McElgunn

Hannah McElgunn: Signs of Difference begins with analyses that draw from long term ethnographic engagement in two very different places: Bóly, a town in Southwest Hungary, and a rural, Wolof-speaking town in Senegal. How has working together, across such seemingly different fieldsites, influenced the approach to language and social life that you present in this book?

Judith T. Irvine and Susan Gal: Our collaboration started with those unexpected parallels between our separate ethnographic projects. Reading each other’s papers and listening to each other at AAA meetings, we saw amazingly similar processes in two fieldsites that were utterly worlds apart. The happy result has been a semiotic approach to difference, an approach that is much wider than our own ethnographies but is well illustrated by them. Our book is mainly devoted to developing and explaining that approach, but it begins by showing how it applies to the two ethnographic cases.

In the German-Hungarian town in Hungary as in the Wolof-speaking town in Senegal, people were making distinctions among themselves not only through the way they spoke but also through different forms of emotional expression, clothing, houses and numerous other signs and activities. Language, social organization, geography, history, were all quite different. But in both towns, as it happened, one social category of people spoke and acted in relatively reserved, restrained ways; the other category, by contrast, seemed to be more elaborate in everything, more vivid, dramatic. These were stereotypes of difference. People oriented to these social types, often enacting them in their everyday lives. But how to understand the weird parallels between the two towns? “Restrained” vs. “elaborate” were the ways the people in our two towns characterized their own differences. But when we read fieldwork by others, we saw that although there were always overarching cultural distinctions that organized relations between contrasting sets of people and signs, those distinctions could be quite different from ours. For instance, there was: tough vs. soft in one place but in another pragmatic vs. political. To understand our own examples and others, our explanations would have to be quite abstract. And semiotic.

The book explicates step-by-step a semiotic process of differentiation, with several aspects, that encompasses all the cases. Contrast – as axis of differentiation – is the fundamental idea. Contrasts in expressive signs pointed to contrasting categories of identity; and the qualities attributed to the signs were also attributed to the people-types indexed by the signs. For those familiar with a particular cultural context, the signs of each identity seemed to cohere and to display the same qualities as the people types they point to. We turned our hand to American and historical examples: How did Yankees come to be thought different types of people than Southerners in 19th century US?  How do faculty differentiate among themselves at an American university? How did the National Rifle Association divide in the course of a crucial political battle? And how do the axes of differentiation themselves change? It was very exciting to work out how the semiotic process we propose illuminates relations between whatever culturally-specific qualities are involved.

Hannah McElgunn: As you note, C.S. Peirce hoped that “a converging, objective portrait of the world” would result from different actors continually refining the conjectures of their peers (88). This is opposed to the project you take on in this book, part of which is to detail the “construction of perspectives that are partial, conventional, and positioned” (88).  Yet, despite the fact that Peirce’s larger project differs so strikingly from yours, his semiotic theory plays a foundational role in your “Ingredients” section. How have you come to understand Peirce as useful for the analysis of social life, despite your divergence? 

Judith T. Irvine and Susan Gal: Charles Sanders Peirce has inspired a lot of linguistic anthropology in recent decades. His semiotic logic has become a touchstone. But, to be honest, only a very small part of his enormous philosophical output is generally read, and we ourselves were quite selective in what we drew from Peirce: his famous theory of signs – icon, index, symbol – and their permutations, as well as his brilliant depiction of how interpretation works. Understanding anything, he taught us, requires a series of guesses, what we call “conjectures,” one guess building on another. You start by wondering what is going on in a scene. As more signs, more information about the features of the scene become available, the earlier conjectures might be rejected, changed or strengthened; one guess becomes the basis for making another guess in a series of conjectures that are confirmed, or changed. Knowledge grows through sequential engagement with signs in scenes. We argue in the book that this is crucial for grasping communicative process and fundamentally different from other sign-theories that do not allow for change and growth of knowledge and understanding. Saussure, for instance, imagined a quite different structure, one in which any change or growth could only come from some external source; it could not be inherent in the structure itself. We also appreciated Peirce because, unlike other sign-theorists, he included all kinds of signs: material, linguistic as well as cognitive ones. Linguistic signs do not stand apart from other kinds.

But it is true, as you say, that we have taken Peirce’s theory of signs in a different direction than he did. He wrote at a time when many of the big questions were about reaching scientific truths. We are in a different historical moment now, and in a different discipline. For us, some of the biggest questions are about perspectival framings of knowledge. What we demonstrate is how different starting points, different cultural presuppositions (ontologies) about the meanings of signs and social scenes can lead to different understandings, even if people use the same impeccable semiotic logic. It is a tribute to the power of Peirce’s theory of signs that one can rely on his insights without accepting his ultimate goals. But it is also a result of our readings of other theorists, ones who pay more attention than Peirce to the social surround in which signs are taken up. These thinkers were often more interested in understanding differing perspectives on the world. We discuss in the book what we learned from Roman Jakobson, Edward Sapir, Nelson Goodman, Erving Goffman, Raymond Williams, Gregory Bateson, E. E. Evans-Pritchard, Max Gluckman; from our own age-peers, such as Michael Silverstein; and from longer ago, even Durkheim and Marx.

Hannah McElgunn: Why did you decide to organize the book around the rubric of differentiation? Were there other overarching themes that you considered?

Judith T. Irvine and Susan Gal: Well, “ideology” is also central! But let’s start with differentiation. Both of us were trained as much in linguistics as in anthropology, even psychology, so we were specially attuned to the way contrast is fundamental in human language and perception: Even figure/ground relations and category-formation rely on contrast. To have a category A implies necessarily that there is also not-A.  It was with this in mind that we approached “differentiation.” The book shows that difference is not a matter of conflict or splitting. On the contrary, it is the prerequisite for creating relationality. Even noticing similarity between two things depends on a prior perception of their difference. Does “difference” in the title mislead readers to think that we envisioned endless divisions and contestations?  We hope not, because our real interest is in differentiation as a way of making relations and comparisons. Of course, unification is also important in the book. There are detailed discussions of cases where differences are ignored in favor of some encompassing contrast or comparison.

Oddly, although comparison is a specialty of anthropology, we found it needed to be rethought: what exactly do we do – in semiotic terms – when we compare? That is another major focus of the book. And “ideology” is just as important. Or rather, what we call “ideological work.” Rather than some uniform and seamless “culture” there are multiple ways of imagining the world in even the smallest social group. Ideological work implies that people can create and see alternatives. We reject the idea that ideologies are “false consciousness;” we analyze ideological work as the interpretations and actions that stem from different perspectives on the world. These interpretations and actions are always socially consequential, and they motivate engagement with politics of all kinds. The book considers interpersonal politics, between an early American traveler and her hosts; urban politics, in how images of US cities are created; regional politics in 19th century America; national politics of 19th century French centralization; corporate and global politics in the IMF.  Aren’t these matters of vastly different scale?  Yes. And we argue that scaling is itself really an active project of comparison, made possible by differentiation. Ultimately, we think “difference” is a very useful rubric and a fitting title for the book, reminding us also of our early questions about our fieldsites, and what the people in those sites were thinking about.

Hannah McElgunn: Perspective and positionality are themes that you emphasize in this book. You show how “the same” situation can be differently construed by various actors, or even by the same actor in different moments. Similarly, you are also careful to point out the influence of your own presence upon the situations you re-present for your reader. What kind of insight does the approach to perspective you offer bring to the issue of authorial reflexivity, something with which (it seems to me) all ethnographers must reckon? 

Judith T. Irvine and Susan Gal: We are glad you asked about perspective in doing ethnography!  As in any approach that hopes to be useful to others, there are implications for method in our book, for how to go about investigating ideological work and differentiation. Where should one start and how to proceed? Our book proposes a new definition for “site” of ideological work: it is minimally a joint focus of attention. It may be an object, or a contrast, or a scene – or some other focus. We recommend finding such sites in fieldwork and using them as a centerpiece, a point of departure for mapping how different participants are attending to it, with what presuppositions and results; who further takes up the object of attention, with what interests and agendas; and what happens to those uptakes. We show in the book how enlightening it is to track a whole sequence of uptakes by different participants. That method unfurls a great deal of meaning-making, revealing the often surprising connections among sites in what we insist is a world unbounded in principle – unless people construct boundaries. This method has further implications. Serious attention to the participants’ attention requires the ethnographer to give up any pretension to a “view from nowhere.” Her view, like that of the participants, is also positioned – if differently.  And all social actors engage in analysis. Therefore, authorial humility and generosity are necessary; the ethnographer’s object of study is not the self but those other folks and their focus of attention, their interests and projects. Of course, one’s training and background as a researcher affect one’s position and view of the ethnographic scene and the choice of research questions. But the people you study are analyzing the scene too, and that’s something you want to find out about.  Plus, those people, of course, have views of you, which affect the research as well. As we argue in the book, there is no great gulf between your analyses and the ongoing analyses made by the people you are studying, though interests and frameworks will, of course, diverge. Everyone is interpreting what is going on, from their own points of view, all the time. That process of interpretation is what our book unfolds.

Hannah McElgunn: How on earth did you come across the connection between Hulfalvy, Crowther, and Cust, nineteenth century scholars with connections to your respective fieldsites?

Judith T. Irvine and Susan Gal: We have both been interested for a long time in the history of linguistics and of our fieldsites. In the final chapter, we wanted to think reflexively about our own positions. We decided to take our own advice, and widened our view to make our fieldsites into centerpieces and look for connections between them, across time. It turned out that our own analytical project had some interesting precedents. We found, to our surprise, that Senegal and Hungary were connected even in the 19th century, at least in the imaginations of language scholars, because both regions were peripheral to the European centers that at the time seemed to represent the pinnacles of human achievement. So, the concepts developed in the early chapters of the book enabled us to see how linguists of the past did ideological work and shaped their descriptions of others’ linguistic practices. Interestingly, the German-Hungarian scholar Hunfalvy, working on Finno-Ugric, the African and Africanist linguist Crowther, and Cust the English colonial officer fascinated by African and south Asian languages, were linked in a loose network. Reading through the proceedings of the Orientalist Congresses and through memoirs, we found evidence that Hunfalvy and Cust must have met at the Berlin Congress of 1881 and probably at an earlier one too. These congresses were great continent-wide assemblies of language scholars, yet a much smaller world than linguistics today.

These three men, and several others we focus on – Wenker, Koelle, Castrén, even Schuchardt – were relatively marginal figures in the emerging professionalization of a Europe-wide scientific linguistics. The history of that emergence is often told as a series of famous figures. Our story is different. We approach this past at an oblique angle, focusing not on the center but on the periphery. Unlike the center, all our figures worked on unwritten languages, with varied ideological agendas: to advance colonial administration, or to provide a usable past for nationalist projects, or to promote religious conversion via translations of scripture, or to map rural life for state centralization. They were faced with the deep methodological problem of transforming the analytical practices of philology, based on ancient texts, into an ethnographic linguistics based on face-to-face talk. As we argue, they extended the evidence-base of European language-study by insisting on the relevance of denigrated populations to theoretical linguistics. They were simultaneously struggling for the inclusion, in professional circles, of scholars like themselves, who studied their languages. Ironically, although they are today not much recognized, these are the scholars who enabled the upscaling of linguistics itself into a discipline that can claim universal relevance.

Yet, we note, the problems they faced are still not entirely solved. That is, the ethnographic study of talk and discourse is not yet well integrated with today’s theoretical linguistics. An important aim of our project in this book is to move in that direction.

 

Jennifer Hsieh takes the page 99 test

Jennifer Hsieh Page 99 Test

Media scholars, philosophers, and anthropologists have all written about noise—that mysterious sonic object that can be grating to the ear at the same time that it becomes a celebrated call to human action. “Let’s make some noise!” is a phrase that unleashes a liberatory self, daring the addressee to break away from the “same ol’, same ol’,” of everyday life. In other instances, noise is unwelcomed. News reports over the past few years have covered the case of US diplomats’ exposure to a high-pitched, screeching sound that may have caused neurological damage. This linkage has not yet been proven, but that has not stopped researchers from weighing in on the case.

Given the mercurial ways in which noise captures the social and political imagination, I took a radical commitment towards the empirical in my dissertation, Noise Governance and the Hearing Subject in Urban Taiwan (2017). An ethnography of environmental noise control in Taiwan, I investigated the technological and material efforts of citizens, bureaucrats, and acousticians toward incorporating hearing and listening into the social and political domain. I examined the interplay between a technocratic definition of noise and the individual experience of noise by shadowing noise inspectors to a variety of sites, including construction zones, restaurants, and apartment buildings.

At first listen, the everyday sounds of Taipei exist multiple worlds apart from the effervescent noise at protests, or the weaponized noise of political affairs. Nevertheless, these different registers exemplify ways in which noise participates in and produces social worlds. As I found in my research, the symbolic and metaphorical treatments of noise were not wholly separate from a mechanical approach to noise and, in fact, informed one another.

On page 99, I delineate the interests of different stakeholders in Taiwan’s noise control system: “While government agents utilized health and environmental discourse on noise to exercise political and social control over Taiwanese subjects, individual citizens called for increased noise control as a form of civic activism to hold the government accountable for managing the people.” Continuing on, I trace the double-bind of noise control that attends to the social and political needs of both citizens and the state: “On the one hand, noise control supported environmental rights from a liberal progressive view by advocating for a healthy and safe living environment. On the other hand, these social movements were used as substitutes for continued social and political control by a regime with roots in authoritarian forms of governance. In other words, both liberal progressive and authoritarian agendas utilized environmental and public health in the service of conflicting discourses: one for civic activism in advocating for citizens’ rights; the other for the continued justification of government oversight over everyday life.” Given the divergent, contradictory accountings of noise in Taiwan, it is difficult to determine whether noise is celebrated or unwanted; instead, noise is that which keeps the conversation going, producing political subjects by way of the sounded environment. By considering the multiple agendas held by various parties around noise control in Taiwan, I examine how the object of noise remained an enduring social and political phenomenon precisely because of the way it exceeded both official and civic efforts to systematize it.

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Hsieh, Jennifer. 2017. Noise Governance and the Hearing Subject in Urban Taiwan. Ph.D. Dissertation. Stanford University.

Jennifer Hsieh is an LSA Collegiate Fellow in Anthropology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her current book project is a study of the scientific, bureaucratic, and audiovisual practices underlying the production of environmental noise from early twentieth-century Taiwan to the present. She has previously held research fellowships at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, the Vossius Center at University of Amsterdam, and Fairbank Center at Harvard.

 

Jasmine Folz on her dissertation

Page 99 of my dissertation about free and open source software in India begins with a description of children dancing at a community centre in a Bengaluru slum. This community centre is run by the Free Software Movement of Karnataka, who invited me to spend the weekend with them in October 2016. Following the discussion of dancing I transition to a conversation I had with one of the activists, a middle class man in his 20s I call Rohit. He told me that these are the children of maids before sharing that he always felt he should be nice to maids but he had not considered their lives outside of his home. Working with these children has shifted his awareness of their lived experience and he now visits some of their homes in the slum. I then discuss the fact that although the free software activists have come together to promote free software, that this centre:

…represent[s] their significant commitment to using their mission as a technologically defined group toward social ends. The fact that the software they are using on the old PCs in the centre is free is imperative to the activists. However, the activists accept that to the students who visit the centre, the nuances of free software are almost irrelevant within the context of their need for practical help with school, exposure to the possibilities outside of their habitus, and a safe space to relax and just be kids.

I suggest this ability to downplay the groups’ stated mission can be understood as an extension of Indian middle class activism which has historically used a variety of tools to ameliorate social inequalities. The page then transitions to the next section of the chapter outlining the history of the middle classes in India during British colonial rule.

This test holds for my example. Indeed, this page epitomises much of my dissertation. Namely that free software in India is a technology which is mobilised towards social ends by a relatively elite group of practitioners attempting to improve their nation on multiple fronts. Rather than creating software, the Indian free software community spends most of its energies in the social work of evangelising to students, government, and industry. My dissertation ultimately argues for contextualising technology within political, economic, and sociological contexts as a corrective for much of STS which, despite its many valuable insights into how technology is created and understood, overly focusses on analysing circuits and flows of power all the while gliding over and around the structures that create, maintain, and reproduce power. Rather than describing how different actors are connected within networks which constantly, simultaneously reshape themselves, by showing how technology has developed and been wielded in different times and places to different political and economic ends we are better equipped to work towards mobilising technology for a different and more equitable future.

Jasmine Folz. 2019. Free and Open Source Software in India: Mobilising Technology for the National Good. University of Manchester, Phd.

Jasmine Folz is currently a senior social researcher for a small consultancy in London called Alma Economics.