Langdon Winner’s Artifacts/Ideas and Political Culture W2.

 Langdon Winner’s Artifacts/Ideas and Political Culture W2.


The context of Winner’s discussion of this concept was on the present-day evolving political environment. He writes that, for example, “As our political culture has evolved it is important to be aware of the ways in which advancing technology has affected our common experience of freedom, power, authority, community and justice”. (P. 83).

Another passage whereby this concept is well elucidated is on the passage of the various deeply embedded effects of technology on society and culture. Winner offers an illustration of an artifact used in southwestern USA, and writes thus: “For example, if one visits the agricultural fields of the southwestern U.S.A., one finds workers using a hoe, ‘el cortito,’ a tool with a short handle. There’s nothing political about the length of a wooden handle, is there? Well, that depends on the broader social relationships and activities in which it plays a part. To use ‘el cortito’ you must bend over or get down on your knees. A casual observer might say: If you’re digging in the ground, isn’t it sometimes more comfortable to stand up? Why, the, has the handle been shortened? The reason is, in large part, that the foremen who manage the work can look across a field, even at a great distance, and tell who is working and who is not and the foreman can then apply discipline accordingly…. On the broader social relationships and activities in which it plays a part… Even the length of the handle of a hoe expresses a regime, a regime of suppression, power, authority, and control.” (p. 86- 87) In this regard, the most important claim made by Winner is that technology has deep effects on society and culture both locally and on an international context.

The clarity of Winner’s discussion of this item is uncompromised. He clearly explains issues of technology and how it has influenced political culture. However


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