Unsettled Debts: 1968 and the Problem of Historical Memory| The Sociotechnical Imaginaries of 1968

Andrea Alarcon, Soledad Altrudi, Frances Corry, MC Forelle


The following article is adapted from a multimedia research performance held at the conference The Fire This Time: Afterlives of 1968. In it, we delve into four case studies that exemplify a moment in the sociotechnical imaginaries of 1968: Earthrise, the iconic full photograph of the Earth; the tech demo that predicted the personal computer; a policy debate over the balance of power in the air quality control crisis; and the taken-for-granted emergency line, 911. Our analysis reveals how these technological moments, each of which represented a vision of a better world, were inextricable from the social realities and power dynamics present in their making. Furthermore, this work surfaces the nuances and unique perspectives that the sociotechnical imaginary as a theoretical framework can provide.


science and technology studies, 1968, sociotechnical imaginaries, communication history

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