Digital Disconnect and Assemblages of Power: Exploring Technology Non-use in the Age of the Post-digital
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We currently reside in what is commonly labeled the ‘digital society’, a term associated with blurred boundaries between private/public and work/leisure as ubiquitous personal digital devices such as tablets, smart phones and laptops permeate our daily lives. Meanwhile, pre-digital technologies are enjoying somewhat of a revival, particularly in the area of smart phones. This article investigates the social and material power negotiations that underpin a particular instance of the taking up of pre-digital technologies in the post-digital society by asking: What can the taking up of pre-digital technologies reveal about the social and material configuration of use, and the social construction of empowerment through technology. Drawing on a combination of assemblage theory and a Foucauldian perspective of power, and in order to understand the push/pull of pre-digital technologies, this article disassembles the material and social negotiations that configure and condition what we may label digital use and pre-digital (non-digital) use. By doing this we aim to enable a more nuanced approach to societal digitization and the way in which ‘the digital’ is associated with empowerment in today’s technologically saturated society.
keywordsDigitization; smart phones; assemblage theory; power; non-use.
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