I hope everyone is keeping it together. I’ve just published my first book—The Promise of Access—with MIT Press and I think it is of interest to much of this list. I’ve included the description below, as well as links to upcoming events. I hope to see some of you there and I hope it’s not too long before I can talk with y’all about it in person.
Why do we keep trying to solve poverty with technology? What makes us feel that we need to learn to code—or else? In The Promise of Access: Technology Inequality and the Political Economy of Hope, Daniel Greene argues that the problem of poverty became a problem of technology in order to manage the contradictions of a changing economy. Greene shows how the digital divide emerged as a policy problem and why simple technological solutions to complex social issues continue to appeal to politicians and professionals who should (and often do) know better.
Greene shows why it is so hard to get rid of the idea—which he terms the access doctrine—that the problem of poverty can be solved with the right tools and the right skills. This way of thinking is so ingrained that is adopted by organizations that fight poverty—which often refashion themselves to resemble technology startups. Drawing on years of fieldwork, Greene explores how this plays out in the real world, examining organizational change in technology startups, public libraries, and a charter school in Washington, DC. He finds that as the libraries and school pursue technological solutions, they win praise and funding but also marginalize and alienate the populations they serve. Greene calls for new political alliances that can change the terms on which we understand technology and fight poverty. The Promise of Access is published by the MIT Press, and available wherever books are sold https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/promise-access.
April 15: Association for Information Science and Technology’s (ASIST) Meet the Authors’ webinar series https://www.asist.org/meet-the-authors-series-the-promise-of-access-technology-inequality-and-the-political-economy-of-hope/
April 21: Book talk hosted by the University of Michigan’s Digital Studies Institute and the Center for Ethics, Society and Computing https://umich.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEldeqopz8sH90JlXeAIa8Bkqj5yQgDDnZ6.
April 28: Technology and civic engagement – double book launch with Allison Powell at the Ada Lovelace Institute https://www.adalovelaceinstitute.org/event/technology-civic-engagement-double-book-launch/
April 30: Happy hour conversation on The Promise of Access https://umd.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_1Vw1a-Z6T0q1WbpMWXVj3Awith danah boyd, Lilly Irani, Steve Jackson, and Jessica Vitak at UMD.
Order my book The Promise of Access https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/promise-access