Politicizing Postphenomenology

Part of the Philosophy of Engineering and Technology book series (POET, volume 33)


What can postphenomenology contribute to the political theory of technology? To answer this question, I will expand Don Ihde’s hermeneutical approach into a “political hermeneutics of technology”. I will explore this perspective from both “programs” of Ihde’s postphenomenological approach: the program of individual human-technology relations (the “micro level”) and the program of cultural hermeneutics (the “macro level”). I identify three political dimensions of human-technology relations that align with three main lines of investigation in political philosophy. First, I analyze how power relations are technologically mediated; second, how political interaction takes shape in technologically mediated ways; and third, how technology helps to shape the character of political issues. In each dimension, Ihde’s postphenomenological approach is used to expand on central elements in the work of three philosophers who play a central role in political theory and are also at the roots of postphenomenology: Michel Foucault, Hannah Arendt, and John Dewey. In order to relate this political hermeneutics of technology back to political philosophy itself, the exploration of each dimension concludes with a brief exploration of its implications for democracy, one of the central themes in political theory. How can a postphenomenological analysis of the technological mediation of power, interaction, and issue formation contribute to a better understanding of the relations between technology and democracy?


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

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