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Media TechnologiesEssays on Communication, Materiality, and Society$
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Tarleton Gillespie, Pablo J. Boczkowski, and Kirsten A. Foot

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262525374

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262525374.001.0001

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date: 27 May 2020

The Fog of Freedom

The Fog of Freedom

Chapter:
(p.195) 10 The Fog of Freedom
Source:
Media Technologies
Author(s):

Christopher M. Kelty

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262525374.003.0010

This chapter explores the relationship between the concept of freedom and the historical path that the design of computer technology has taken by bringing approaches from science and technology studies (STS) and media and communication studies (MCS) into closer dialogue with political theory. The chapter revisits the story of the invention of the personal computer out of the world of batch-processing and mainframe computing in the 1960s, and the roles of people such as JCR Licklider and Douglas Engelbart. It argues that by more carefully attending to the distinctions and theorizations of freedom offered in political theory (such as the positive/negative freedom distinction), we can better understand how the personal computer has in turn transformed the concept of freedom.

Keywords:   design, freedom, libertarianism, personal computer, political theory

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