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Globalizing human-technology relations : an examination of the technosphere through the concept of waste

Gerola, Alessio (2018) Globalizing human-technology relations : an examination of the technosphere through the concept of waste.

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Abstract:In the present era of increasing globalization, human influence is spreading all over the planet. Debates on the anthropocene, the epoch in which humanity has become a global force comparable to natural ones, are starting to consider the global aspect of technological relations. The concept of technosphere is gaining popularity as an approach to study the implications of these scales of technological influence. The technosphere represents an autonomous global metabolic system, a large-scale sociotechnical assemblage not subjected to human control. This thesis will investigate the merits and limits of the technosphere for thinking the global dimension of technology. To do so, it will focus on how the technosphere frames waste. Waste offers a conceptual entry point to investigate the global scale of technological relations, in particular concerning the making and unmaking of material, social and moral boundaries. The interplay of social components and technological systems of waste disposal contributes to create, maintain and contest the boundaries that shape the ecosystems of the planet, and the lives of its inhabitants. Therefore, improving our understanding of how waste comes to be framed as such, represents a crucial task to expand the scope of philosophy of technology. The thesis will show how the systemic approach of the technosphere largely downplays the role of social components in determining the identity of waste. Waste is reduced to what hinders the metabolic functioning of the technosphere, thus revealing a more general failure to account for the influence of social actors in shaping global sociotechnical processes.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:08 philosophy
Programme:Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society MSc (60024)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/76247
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