iSchool Research Symposium: Daniel Greene
"The Promise of Access: Technology, Inequality and the Political Economy of Hope"
Why do we keep trying to solve poverty with technology? What makes us feel that we need to learn to code — or else? This common sense has ruled our economic imaginary for at least 30 years. Those who cannot log on or train up are condemned to the margins of the information economy, and contained by the carceral state.
In The Promise of Access, Daniel Greene argues that the problem of poverty became a problem of technology in order to manage the contradictions of a changing economy. We cannot debunk or banish the idea — what Greene calls the access doctrine — that the problem of poverty can be solved with the right tools and the right skills because the idea helps those public institutions to save themselves. Technological solutions help public institutions simplify their missions and win legitimacy and funding, but at the cost of alienating the populations they serve. Blending political-economic theory with years of ethnographic fieldwork, Greene will explore how this plays out in Washington, D.C.