Technology Within Every-Day-Life: What People Could Do - What People
Can Do - What People Do. Towards Another Psychology of Technology
in 21 th Century. [1]

For reasons I will remember and quote what I read some twenty-five years ago,
when I was a student of the social sciences, on "technology" as written by a
radical critic of "The Capital" published in 1867 in his anatomy of economy. In
the 13th chapter on "Machinery and Great Industry" Carl Marx, in a footnote,
annotated on both conceptual and methodoligical aspects of any critical social
science quite sophistically:

"Technology discloses the active relation of man towards nature, as well
as the direct process of production of his very life, and thereby the process
of production of his basic societal relations, and of his own mentality and
his images of society, too." [2]

Moreover, I will take the liberty -if I may- and remind my scholarly reader -he or
she-  what some twenty years ago, when I
was graduated as a social psychologist, some leading figures of that network self-
naming themselves "the scientific community" called "a new paradigm": In Germany
for example the notorious pollster lady Mrs. Noelle-Neumann-Maier-Leibnitz, from
the Allensbach oracle, publicly shoutet out her abrupt turnaround ("the white ele-
phant") and taught us that all of the media we are used to and using are no longer
"powerful" but, on the very contrary, have to be handled as most "effectivenessless",
above all TV. Moreover, there was a new basic question, and everyone -he or she-
who really wants to carreer better said Farewell to old Paul Lazarsfeld et alii asking
the other way around: What (so) ever the media (may) do with (the) people overnight
was a strictly prohibited area -- What-Do-the-People-with-the-Media became main-
stream concept of every bulk scientist dealing with it...

Be it as it ever may be: What I´d like to conceptualize -if I were a scientist with
strong interest on problems of the aesthetics, media, and technology within 21th
century any longer- would really not be just a bit more elaborated but another basic 
look on the field. Not only what people do with all those technical apparatus which
they are currently using -like phone mobile, electronic mailing and all around world-
wide-web e.g.- is of grande scholarly interest. But the more another, at least double-
widened, perspective which, indeed, is due to another logic, the dialectic one aiming
the third ("tertium datur"). For what people could do with every-day-technique is from
my viewpoint as important as what people can do with all of the technical things in-
corporated within current daily life (even whenever typically not done by common
people). Whoever is asking narrowly for what people empirically do what they do
when using advanced technique will get an answer due to the question: People just
do what they do while doing what they do in the way they do - an issue which is - as
I feel - not only as banal as obscure and cloudy but has been characterized (by Th.
W. Adorno) as Verdoppelungsrealismus, occuring whenever social scientist "forget"
thinking before entrepreneuring empirical projects.

According to any scholarly approaches beyond rubbish data and/or bullshit psycho-
logy not only all that what exists (empirically is) -the visible- and what people ever
do when coping with current technology within every-day-life is of scholarly interest
but also, and the more, that what people could do -the potential application- and
what people can do -the conditional application- using technical things in a specific
manner... making things which are still unvisible progressively more and more visible.

I am quite sure these two new paths may be a long way but are, prospectively,
steps towards a human future leading to another use of technology, its media, and
its aesthetics.
 

[1]
an abridged version of this paper was presented to the congress "Innovations for
an e-Society: Challenges for Technology Assessment" (Berlin, Oct. 17-19, 2001:
the cultural section; vide "http://www.itas.fzk.de/e-society"); former contributions
of mine on media & technology appeared in German; vide "Computerisierte Le-
bensführung" (Kunst & Therapie, 12/1987); "Bilder-Welten" (medium, 3/1987; en-
larged version under another title: Die Rolle der elektronischen Medien in der
Entwicklung der Künste, ed. Alphons Silbermann; P. Lang, 1987); "Technik - Me-
dizin - Handeln" (Gesundheit und Medien) , ed. Walter Nutz; Quintessenz, 1997).
This commentary however follows my own basic concept as published ten years
ago as "The Utopian Paradigm" (Communications. The European Journal of Com-
munication, ed. A. Silbermann/W. Nutz, 3/1991)

[2]
my own translation. Originally in German: "Die Technologie enthüllt das aktive Ver-
halten des Menschen zur Natur, den unmittelbaren Produktionsprozess seines Le-
bens, damit auch seiner gesellschaftlichen Lebensverhältnisse und der ihnen ent-
quellenden geistigen Vorstellungen". - Whenever comparing to this passage - how
confusing that concept "technology" a modernist sociologist like Manuel Castells
actually presents in his prologue of "The Information Age: Economy, Society and
Culture" altering explanans and explanandum when he remarks in a pseudo-Marxist
phrase on the relationship between technology and society:

"To large extent technology expresses the ability of a society to propel itself into
technological mastery through the institutions of society, including the state. The
historical process through which this development of productive forces takes place
earmarks the characteristics of technology and interweaving in social relationships."
(pp. 12/13, sec.ed./1st vol.) [quotation in the German ed./translated by Reinhart Köss-
ler, which appeared in autumn/fall 2001 at Leske + Budrich publ. house, p. 13]