The Specters of (Sociotechnical) Imaginaries. Oppressed Futures of the Past

Author(s): Doll, Martin


In my article I want to argue for a shift in focus in Media Studies when thinking about sociotechnical imaginaries, a concept prominently developed by Sheila Jasanoff and Sang-Hyun Kim. Whereas this concept is often used to think in rather sociological large scales—a society, a culture as a whole—I would like to provide a more humanities-specific small-scale approach with a strong emphasis on heterogeneities and ambivalences and with a focus on sociotechnical imaginaries from the past. First, I will elaborate on the (political) blind spots of thinking in rather large-scales (even if this is sometimes only implicitly articulated in the key sources). Second, I will develop a sketch of a methodology for analyzing sociotechnical imaginaries on a smaller scale by reference to the concept of »memory cultures«, and particularly to »storage memory» and »functional memories« founded by Aleida Assmann and further developed in terms of pluralities by Astrid Erll. And, third, I will outline the political implications of this media archaeology of sociotechnical imaginaries in the present. Can we understand these imaginaries with Derrida as specters that haunt us, as specters of past political futures connected to media technologies that remind us of what is no longer and what is not yet?

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Preferred Citation
Doll, Martin: The Specters of (Sociotechnical) Imaginaries. Oppressed Futures of the Past. In: Navigationen - Zeitschrift für Medien- und Kulturwissenschaften, Jg. 23 (2023), Nr. 2, S. 30-40. DOI:
 author = {Doll, Martin},
 title = {The Specters of (Sociotechnical) Imaginaries. Oppressed Futures of the Past},
 year = 2023,
 doi = "\url{}",
 volume = 23,
 address = {Siegen},
 journal = {Navigationen - Zeitschrift für Medien- und Kulturwissenschaften},
 number = 2,
 pages = {30--40},
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