Technical Mediation, Social Acceleration and the Politics of Hypermodernity

Open Access
Author:
Kula, Eric W.
Graduate Program:
Political Science
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
December 14, 2010
Committee Members:
  • John Philip Christman, Dissertation Advisor
  • John Philip Christman, Committee Chair
  • Nancy Love, Committee Chair
  • Lee Ann Banaszak, Committee Member
  • Marie Hojnacki, Committee Member
  • Alan M Sica, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • Political of mobility
  • phenomenology
  • philosophy of technology
  • political geography
  • Virilio
  • Heidegger
Abstract:
This project aims to describe the political implications of an emergent phenomenon that I call “hypermodernity.” The primary assumption throughout this project is that the spread of electronic communication and surveillance techniques carries with it unique political significance when human-technological interactions are bounded spatially. Through an inductive investigation of specific technological spaces, I propose a form of social and political practice in which the spatial and technological have become inseparable, simultaneously united and problematized through the concept of information circulation. I call the proliferation of spaces predicated on the circulation of information hypermodernity. Rather than focusing on the “construction” of these spaces (the construction of “meaning” of the space), this project aims to describe the spatial and temporal experiences that are made possible (or restricted) by the relationship between humans and technology in spaces dominated by information flows. In later chapters, I detail a series of empirical examples found in commercial airports. Using a Heideggerean phenomenological method, I analyze full-body scanners and biometric identification documents and how these technological systems intertwine human bodies, technological capabilities and spatial practices. From these observations, I build an inductive theory of the hypermodern and its corresponding instrumental rational worldview.