Engaging Devices: The Inter-articulation of Technology, Democracy and Innovation
The question of the role of technological devices in engagement may be posed of any form of public participation but it acquires special relevance in relation to material participation. The latter form of involvement as I discussed in Chapter 1, can itself be characterized in terms of the attempt to foreground the role of objects, technologies and settings in the organization of publics. There is also a second, similarly ‘reflexive’, reason why the question of devices becomes especially important in this case. Insofar as material participation today presents a distinct form of public action, it poses a challenge to the understanding of the role of things in the enactment of participation proposed in prevailing accounts of material politics. As I will discuss, this work has treated the material constitution of participation as an implicit feature, as something that requires the attention of social and political analysts to acquire saliency. However, when material participation acquires the status of a distinctive public form, materiality becomes an explicit feature of participation, one that is generally recognized as part of the practices under study. This has implications for how we conceptualize and value the materiality of participation in this case: I will argue that it invites a much more ambivalent appreciation of it.
KeywordsPublic Participation Public Engagement Carbon Accounting Loyalty Card Material Participation
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