Imposing evenness, preventing combination: charting the international dynamics of socio-technical imaginaries of innovation in American foreign policy
Source TitleCambridge Review of International Affairs
PublisherTaylor & Francis (Routledge)
University of Melbourne Author/sMcCarthy, Daniel
AffiliationSchool of Social and Political Sciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsMcCarthy, D. (2021). Imposing evenness, preventing combination: charting the international dynamics of socio-technical imaginaries of innovation in American foreign policy. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 34 (2), pp.296-315. https://doi.org/10.1080/09557571.2021.1877617.
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The Socio-Technical Imaginaries (STI) approach in Science and Technology Studies (STS) has illuminated the central role of social imaginaries in shaping the politics of technology. Its emphasis on the multilinear forms of socio-technical development is a useful corrective to universalist explanations of technological change. However, STI lacks a clear account of how inter-societal interaction shapes the imaginaries of any given political community. Synthesising STI with the theory of Uneven and Combined Development (UCD) can correct this shortcoming. UCD offers an ontology of universals and accompanying methodology of incorporated comparison, enabling STI to integrate inter-societal causality into its theoretical framework. A combined UCD and STI framework is examined in this paper through a focus on imaginaries of technological innovation in contemporary American foreign policy. Responding to the ‘whip of external necessity’, US foreign policy seeks to upend technological diffusion and impose global regulatory evenness on national forms of technological innovation.
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