Neocolonialism and the Technopolitics of Specialization: Toward a Reimagination of the Sociotechnical Imaginaries Approach

Posted by on January 17, 2024 in Recent Publications | 0 comments

Regletto Aldrich Imbong


As a theoretical framework in the Science and Technology Studies (sts) scholarship, the sociotechnical imaginaries approach (sta) has provided a conceptual framework and methodology that not only overcome the deterministic understanding of technological development but also theorized the relationship between society on the one hand, and science and technology on the other. However, as will be pointed out, a limitation of the sta renders it incapable of problematizing what I will call as the technopolitics of specialization, defined as the organization of unequal positions based on the capitalist centers’ control over techno-epistemic networks set against the backdrop of a neocolonial relation. Such an incapacity glosses over the persistence of neocolonialism and dependency especially in the Global South.

This paper aims to reimagine the theoretical framework of the sociotechnical imaginaries by developing a critical review of its approach. The paper will place in dialogue the most recent and relevant conceptual developments of the sta and the dependency theory of Samir Amin. The paper will present how the most relevant literature concerning the sta work on the assumption that every polity has control over existing techno-epistemic networks from which imaginaries are independently defined. The paper will argue that given the notion of international specialization developed by Samir Amin and presupposed today in the sta, the technopolitics of specialization monopolizes control of the techno-epistemic networks thereby constraining the imaginaries of peripheral countries.

Keywords: sociotechnical imaginariestechnopolitics of specializationneocolonialismtechno-epistemic networks

Link to the Article Specialization_Toward_a_Reimagination_of_the_Sociotechnical_Imaginaries_Approach