Distraction Free Reading

STS and Electoral Politics

In the context of the upcoming US presidential election and increasing evidence of the importance of voting infrastructure, this week we revisit past posts that highlight the key role STS must play in these conversations.


Populist Outsiders in the U.S Presidential Election by Maria Vidart-Delgado

Street art of Donald Trump that has had a Bernie sticker placed over his mouth.Treating elections akin to reality TV and personal branding (both fields in which he has been quite successful), Trump shows that what matters in electoral politics is the style of the performance (appearing strong, resolute, and being entertaining), and not the content of his discourse. Read more.


Crisis Redux, Viral Uncertainty, and Militarized Care: Coronavirus in the Aftermath of Bolivia’s Uncertain Coup by Caitlyn Dye

bailarines carnavalescosA long-time friend and interlocutor, Sebastián[1] reassured me that we would get through this, because anybody who lived through what we’ve lived through has experienced weathering a crisis. He was referring to a political crisis that rocked Bolivia in October and November of 2019, precipitated when apparent irregularities in the October presidential elections cast doubt on the victory of once popular left-wing president Evo Morales, who was running for a controversial fourth consecutive term. Read more.


Before They Erase It: Memory and the social media archive by Nell Haynes and Baird Campbell

A street mural shows fists rising from the ground, and a caption reading "we're not at war, we're united."As of the writing of this piece, protests continue daily throughout the country, with themes such as pension reform, minimum wage increases, and a Constitutional plebiscite aimed at finally replacing the current Constitution, which was written under Pinochet. Read more.


Optics and Fluidity: Evading Surveillance in Hong Kong by Jessica Bray and Timothy Quinn

圖片:左圖-“香港之眼(Eye for Hong Kong)”的海報,上方畫了一隻小豬遮住右邊的眼睛,海報上寫著,請遮住你的右眼自拍並上傳到Facebook、Instagram、Twitter或Reddit並註明#EyeforHK (香港之眼)#NoPoliceBrutality (拒絕警察暴力) #FreeFromFear(不再恐懼) #DemocracyForHK(民主香港)等四個標語,同時上面標註了五個抗議訴求:1. 撤回逃犯條例 2. 撤回暴動定義 3. 撤銷所有抗爭者控罪 4. 追究警隊濫權 5. 立即實行雙普選。右圖- 右眼被止血繃帶遮掩的少女圖像,此作品由不知名的藝術家製作,在社群媒體上造成一股熱潮。While China has insisted that Hong Kong will retain its autonomy and that the Social Credit System will not be implemented there, Beijing’s hand in Hong Kong’s elections, as well as the disappearances of activists and book sellers, leave most Hong Kongers uncomfortable with the way Beijing uses its eyes, hands, and ears in the city. Read more.


Stephen Hawking, Automation, and Politics by Hélène Mialet

Baxter, an Industrial Robot, Using a ComputerIt seems that for Hawking, political acts such as voting, and in particular voting for candidates and policies on the right, for more protectionism, more walls, more hierarchy, in short, voting for Trump or Brexit is a direct response to the consequences of globalization and accelerating technological change. Read more.


Country in the Cloud by Daria Savchenko

Clouds above the boardwalk in Tuhu, Estonia.Estonia is a country which, unlike people and companies going “to the cloud,” hopes to actually move itself “into the cloud,” with profound implications for how we understand both the cloud metaphor and geopolitics in the digital age. Read more.

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