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Democracy's InfrastructureTechno-Politics and Protest after Apartheid$
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Antina von Schnitzler

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691170770

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691170770.001.0001

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The Making of a Techno-Political Device

The Making of a Techno-Political Device

(p.105) Chapter 4 The Making of a Techno-Political Device
Democracy's Infrastructure

Antina von Schnitzler

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the micro-political battle between residents tinkering with technology and engineers trying to secure it. It tackles a number of questions, such as the relationship between technology and the constitution of particular forms of agency and subjectivity; how technical devices such as the prepaid meter mediate such relationship to the state; and how the “de-scription” of technology might enable us to read particular configurations of power. To answer these questions, the chapter traces a genealogy of the prepaid meter, from its invention in Victorian Britain to the late-apartheid period and into the present, and how it became intertwined with techno-politics. In following the travels of the prepaid meter, it conceptually reconsiders the relationship between ethics, politics, and technics.

Keywords:   technology, engineers, agency, subjectivity, technical devices, prepaid meter, state, power, techno-politics, ethics

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