Social Justice Senses of Justice Patterned vs. Historical Approach
Justice • The most general meaning of justice is giving to each person his or her due. • Giving to each person what that person needs, what that person deserves, or a share equal to what others are about to receive • Agreement: Justice is giving to each what is due • Disagreement: Whether “what is due” means assigning shares according to … • Need • Merit • Equality
Arguments: • Justice is essential to autonomy • Individuals cannot be fully autonomous unless they receive a fair share of political and economic goods. • These form the basis for access to other goods crucial to autonomy • This access can be threatened when goods are scarce and other hoard more than their fair share (=what is due to them)
Arguments: • Spheres of Justice Approach • There are several distinct spheres of practical activity. • Each has its own unique principle of justice (principle of fair distribution) • Educational (need/equality) • Economic (merit, effort) • Political (strictly equal or egalitarian)
Forms of Justice • Distributive: dividing benefits and burdens fairly • Goods: economic (money and what it buys) and political (rights and liberties) • Retributive: fair and impartial administration of punishments • Does criminal and civil law meet standards of retributive justice? What about strict liability or liability without fault? What about finding and punishing those responsible for the criminal behavior of corporations?
Forms of Justice • Administrative: fair and impartial administration of rules • Human Resource Department • Promotions/Demotions • Performance evaluations • Hiring/Firing • Compensatory: how to fairly recompense those who have been wrongfully treated or harmed by others • Burden of civil law • How do characteristics like due care, negligence, recklessness, and preponderance of evidence carry out compensatory justice?
Patterned Approaches • Distributive justice results from finding an ideal pattern of distribution, comparing actual distribution, and adjusting actual distribution to ideal through means such as taxation. • Equality: equal shares to all • Merit: greatest shares to those who deserve it • Need: greatest shares to those who need it • Some Problems • Do need and equality patterns of distribution take away incentive to work hard and innovate? (The pay’s the same no matter what) • Do merit-based systems give undue weight to natural talents (=talents we are born with)? Do we deserve our natural endowments?
Historical Approaches • Current pattern is irrelevant. Justice depends on how those who possess goods came to possess them • Entitlement Theory of Justice: Negative Argument • Patterned approaches can be maintained only by continual interference with natural, liberty-based transactions. (We pay Michael Jordan to see him play and then take from him when he gets too much) • Entitlement Theory of Justice: Positive Argument • Justice in Acquisition (we mixed our labor with something and transformed it in this way) • Justice in Transfer (we received something acquired by someone else) • We are entitled to what we have if we can show it to be the result of repeated applications of Justice in Acquisition and Justice in Transfer • This process must be free of force and fraud.
Rawls’ Two Principles of Justice • Equal Liberties • “each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others” • (freedom of speech and assembly, liberty of conscience, freedom of thought, freedom of the person, etc.) • What pattern does this most resemble? • Difference Principles • “social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both (a) reasonable expected to be to everyone’s advantage and (b) attached to positions and offices open to all….” • Economic goods • What pattern(s) does this most resemble? • Rawls can be seen as indicating a synthesis of the patterns of merit, need, and equality. (How? Where?) • How should Rawls respond to the Michael Jordan argument?
Practical Lenses for Socio-Technical Systems How technology conveys educational philosophy Why MIT Laptops may not be for all children How different power systems promote different political structures
What is a “lens”? • Definition: • “a practice lens…examine[s] how people, as they interact with a technology in their ongoing practices, enact structures which shape their emergent and situated use of that technology.” (Orlikowski) • Reimagining the technical artifact: bicycle, computer, cell phone, television, automobile • Old account: the technical artifact is a physical object that, somehow, embodies value • Value embodied in the structure of the object • User appropriates the object through use but the object (via the values or politics it embodies) highly constrains the user in terms of its structure • New account: Orlikowski • A structure that emerges as agents interact with an object in a context (STS) • So the same object (say a software program) can take on entirely different forms when enacted by different people in different contexts
A lens represents a conception of the relation between technology and society • It also presents an ideology or a picture of the world • Each lens opens a different line of inquiry and suggests different, yet productive, questions • Comparing different lenses… • Reveals the partiality of each • Sets up the possibility of integrating them into a broader, more comprehensive standpoint
Technological Determinism Readings from Heilbroner, Winner, Pinch and Bijker are from Johnson and Wetmore, eds. Technology and Society: Building Our Sociotechnical Future MIT Press: 2009
Heilbroner Quoting Marx • From Marx • “The hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill society with the industrial capitalism.” • Straight-line determinism: the technology (hand-mill, steam-mill) determines the social form (feudal society, industrial capitalism)
General Statement of Technological Determinism • Feenberg, Questioning Technology, 77 • TD = UP + DB • Unilinear Progress: • “Technological progress appears to follow a unilinear course, a fixed track, from less to more advanced configurations. Each stage of technological development enables the next, and there are no branches off the main line.” • Determinism by Base: • “Technological determinism also affirms that social institutions must adapt to the “imperatives” of the technological base. This view, which no doubt has its source in a certain reading of Marx, is long since the common sense of the social sciences. Adopting a technology necessarily constrains one to adopt certain practices that are connected with its employment.”
What are the politics of the technology? • Does the technology require an authoritarian system of control • Example: Nuclear reactor with risk of catastrophic meltdown. Control must be exercised to avoid this • Or does technology encourage adopting a participative approach where control is distributed and decentralized?
Questions from Technological Determinism What forms of political, economic, and social organization does the technology require? Individualistic to Collective What kind of decision-making structure does the technology require Horizontal/participative to vertical/top-down control What approach to working does technology require? Division of labor or overlapping role responsibilities How does technology stand in relation to power? Power centralized in the control of a few or decentralized and distributed over many? Is the technology democratic or autocratic (Mumford)? Shrader-Frachette argues that the soft energy path (renewable resources) is democratic while the hard energy path (nonrenewable) is authoritarian.
Social Construction Pinch and Bijker
Stages in the development of a technology • Interpretive Flexibility • Closing of interpretive flexibility through exercise of social choice • Technology becomes “black box” in that it appears inevitable or determined from the beginning • See next 3 slides for more explanation of these stages
First Stage: Interpretive Flexibility • Meaning of technology is open • Is bicycle a recreational vehicle or a mode of transportation? • Social interaction generates different variations • Boneshaker, Penny Farthing, Lawson’s Bicyclette • Positive competition stimulates creativity • Individuals interact with variations, experiment with them, and clarify their needs and interests vis a vis this interaction • Interests, needs, and problems become filters that select some variations (those conducive) and de-select others (those that become obsolete)
Second Stage: Closing of Interpretive Flexibility • Variations in design begin to disappear • Needs, interests and problems stabilize as process of experimenting with variations closes • Designs that pass through interest/needs/problem filters emerge as dominant, others retreat as recessive
Third Stage: Black Box • Closure is achieved through • rhetorical means (advertising) • problem definition (fixing on smooth ride for rubber tires) • inclusion in a wider context (variations are integrated into broader STS) • Closure conceals historical process where variations are developed, tested, and filtered • Dominant design becomes a black box
Social Construction Questions What is the historical process that has culminated in the formation of the technology at hand? (This forces opening of the black box) What variations competed for dominance in the interpretative flexibility stage? How did users and non-experts interact with these variations? What interests, needs, and problems emerged as a result of this stage? What rhetorical means, problem definitions, and STS integrations led to a closing of interpretive flexibility?
Determinisms or Co-determination Langdon Winner: Technologies have politics
Summary taken from Hickman John Dewey’s Pragmatic Technology. Indiana University Press, 148 and following
Winner rejects “straight-line” notion of tool use • Guns aren’t good or bad; only the people who use them • Winner also rejects (in text) technological determinism (211) • “technology develops as the sole result of an internal dynamic and then unmediated by any other influence, molds society to fits its patterns.” • Winner finally rejects social determinism of technology • “What matters is not the technology itself, but the social or economic system in which it is embedded. …This view provides an antidote to naïve technological determinism….But it has its own shortcomings; taken literally, it suggests that technical things do not matter at all”
Winner’s Positive Argument Against Social Construction • Manifest Complexity: • The technology or tool displays complexity such as “tightly coupled systems” and “non-linear” chains of causality. For example, nuclear reactors • Concealed Complexity: • Technologies are frequently backed by decision-making procedures that are opaque to independent scrutiny. • Pre-market regulation of nuclear reactors by NRC • Pre-market equivalence (built on previously-approved design)
Winner’s Positive Argument Against Social Construction • Technological Imperative: • Technologies transform and redefine human needs. Machine needs become imperative and trump human needs. • Finding food, clothing and shelter require first responding to machine requirements such as electrical power, highways, bridges, sewers, and other infrastructure • Reverse Adaptation: • Because complex technologies redefine needs (and values) we are forced to adapt ourselves (and our needs) to them
Lens Questions Assess the manifest complexity of the technology in question What is the manifest complexity of wind turbines? Assess the concealed complexity? What is the regulatory process concerning the adoption of eolic technology? Pre-market approval procedures? Pre-market equivalence? Identify the operation of any technology imperatives. Are there any technological needs that are pushing aside and replacing human needs? Identify any instances of reverse adaptation Does the technology require reverse adaption? Does it require humans to adapt to its needs rather than vice versa?
One Technology, five different enactments Wanda J. Orlikowski. (2000). “Using Technology and Constituting Structures: A Practice Lens for Studying Technology in Organizations.” Organization Science, 11(4), July-August 2000: 404-428.
What is interesting here is that… one and the same technical artifact generates a series of different technologies as individuals with different values working in different cultures interact with it
Notes (groupware)developed by Lotus Development Corporation • Features • Electronic messaging • Text Editing (word processing) • Document Management • Customization potentiality • Replication (copying and distributing documents) • Security (password protection) • Application Development (database)
Developers Use Notes • Distributed Authority • Participative Culture • Nonhierarchical Structure • Technology-in-Practice • “Developers use Notes extensively to collaborate on the design and development of the Notes Product”
Consultants Use Notes • Individual Incentive Structure • Competitive Culture with time-based billing structure • Relationship Management • Limited Use TIP • Technology-in-Practice • “consultants use Notes minimally, sporadically, and perfunctorily”
Remember • Technologies have politics and can impose structure that influence and determine how society develops • But technologies themselves undergo a process of social construction and take on forms never intended by their designers • A given technology can take on different forms or enactments depending on who enacts what in which context