Final Thoughts

We made it to the end of another term! As our final assignments start to pile up as they always do, it’s usually difficult to take a moment to reflect on how far I’ve come since the beginning of a class, what I’ve learned, and how it contributes to the body of knowledge that I have been developing for the last five years.

Lucky for me, I have this one last blog post to complete.

What is interesting to me about the readings we did and presentations we watched this semester (at least for me) is that the way we engaged with the content from week to week was very isolated. Each week felt like we were learning something entirely new and different, and it wasn’t until the end that it becomes clearer that each week was a node in a network that was being built for us.

In the first week, Latour taught us that attempting to visualize a network is where we run into difficulties in understanding the concept of the network. This piece of information has guided my understanding of our course.  Specifically, the notion that it is not the connections between the nodes that matter, rather the spaces in between.

I struggled to understand the link between (for example) our readings on plagiarism and our readings on infrastructure terrorism, but I understand now that it’s not the connection – it’s the space in between.

Each reading is only a node in the “network” of our class’ syllabus, and it is also representative of an entire network that exists outside of our classroom.  The spaces between our readings are filled with networks that surround them.

The theories we learned at the beginning of the year can be used to explore and understand these networks. Peter’s work on “understanding the new” helps me understand the depth of the network; and how the practices within a network are thanks to a rich, networked history. Winner teaches us how artifacts have politics that are formed through these practices, and Benchler demonstrates the formation and deliberation of power between artifacts, practices, actors, and between networks themselves.

The more I think about the term “everything is networked,” the more I understand that this statement is not meant to be understood as shallowly as “everything is linked,” but more so that everything is connected through the process of creating practice, performing power, and exhibiting politics.

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