Library Dissertation Showcase

The sociology behind the revolution: a Foucauldian view of the relationship between society and technological advancements latent within the attention economy and surveillance capitalism

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2021

Society over time has experienced a number of revolutions that have crafted the world we live in today. In each of these there have been a number of factors that have influenced the trajectory of change. In this dissertation I will be exploring the present technological revolution (the information age) we are in, with a focus on the impact innovation has on our attention and cognition. The innovations under investigation are those considered within the attention economy or surveillance capitalism; such examples being social media, search engines and the devices through which they are accessed and other smart devices such as Amazon Alexa. These objects will be referred to in this dissertation as ‘disruptive technologies’. Technology affects the way we all communicate, learn, live and think (Allen, 2019). It guides society and determines how people interact with each other (Allen, 2019). While exploring this relationship of technology and society I encountered a ‘wicked problem’ being raised by many academics, professionals and thought leaders: Technology is causing us harm (Crawford, 2015) (Harris, 2017) (Zuboff, 2019). This is a very broad statement and a problem that can take many forms. Within this dissertation I will explore this relationship and the extent to which ‘disruptive technological advancements’ in the attention economy are impacting our productivity. I hope to communicate a clear understanding of the drivers and affect innovation has in a technological and sociological context; in order to support the healthy development of tomorrows world.

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