Social Organization Technologies

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TITLE Social Organization Technologies
AUTHOR Xavieros
DAY: Day 2
NEEDS: Projector or something to write on

Technology refers to knowledge which is objectified on a system that works, producing a recursive effect. In Marxist terms, it is fixed capital which can be appropriated by owners who use it to increase their power over non-owners. However, the “sistematization of the knowledge of producing effects” (=technology) also works on a social dimension: we exist as part of social systems organized according to a certain order which often is unconscious.

Technologies of the self are systems designed to act upon subjectivity, such as writing a diary or going to therapy. People use them to change who they are and how they feel. On another lever, governance technologies enable power to operate in the world: the hierarchy on the army, the law or the parlamentary system. Together, they directly articulate how people live and organize. They are the core of social institutions: families, companies, etc.

Applying hacking to this sort of technology means to study their inner workings and experimenting with new ways of community life: re-thinking who we are, what we want, and how we interrelate with others. Not doing so implies being determined by ideological social designs built elsewhere, or by fragmented unorganized knowledges that make us think we are going somewhere while running in circles.

This also means stop thinking we already know “how society works” and start from scratch revisiting its inner workings; with the same calm and joy hackers apply in understanding other technological systems. Plus, the motivation goes beyond learning, as it is about building social systems (institutions) that allow us to live free, happy and meaningful lives together with others.

The assembly system is one of the best examples of self-governing technologies, developed and improve over the years to provide autonomy to collectives. However, in the face of the enormous advance of control and domination technologies in the last decades—consider social networking sites, algorithms, fake news, or even how TV worked on the las 50 years—, we need to systematize the research and production of more self-governing technologies.

Based on social sciences and activism experience, the talk will present some basic ideas regarding the development of social organization technologies, such as the relevance of cultural principles, the distribution-limitation of authority or intervention protocols.