Vol. 10 No. 1 (2022): Territories and power, a two-way relationship
Science in action

Between determinism and phylogenesis: Technology, power and territory

Luciano De Bonis
University of Molise, Department of Biosciences and Territory
Organic fluid network. Image: Piqsels.
Published March 3, 2022
Keywords
  • techno-politics,
  • theory of technique,
  • algorithmic governmentality,
  • enabling platforms,
  • socio-territorial networks
How to Cite
De Bonis, L., & Simoncini, S. (2022). Between determinism and phylogenesis. Scienze Del Territorio, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.13128/sdt-13205

Abstract

The paper starts from a reinterpretation of the relationship between technology, society and power, in particular retracing the antagonism that occurred in the early ’70s between two great theorists of this relationship, M. McLuhan and L. Mumford. Their positions on the impact of the new information and telecommunication technologies were in fact diametrical: on one side the ‘techno-optimist’ McLuhan aimed at interpreting them as a potential ‘liberation’ in terms of physical and spiritual reconnection among humans and between Man and nature, on the other the ‘techno-sceptic’ Mumford, who saw them as a means of a definitive subjugation of the individual to a new form of centralised apparatus, the “megamachine”. After considering the positions of the French F. Guattari, which transcends the deterministic vision of the two Americans in a “phylogenetic” and “molecular” reinterpretation of the evolution of the heterogeneous and complex relationship between society, individuals and technology, we reread the current digital ‘explosion’, fostered by pandemic conditions, in the light of the coexistence of antagonistic models of digital platforms – one in tension towards an ‘algorithmic’ and centralised territorial governance, the other slowly evolving towards the construction of decentralised and open platforms more oriented towards territorial cooperation –, inferring finally the possible developments of such different models in relation to local systems.

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