Imagining the Social Change: The Discourse About new Media in the Czech Republic After 1989
The aim of this Ph.D. project is to investigate how the new media, and its social role, was discussed in the Czech Republic after 1989. In the enthusiastic atmosphere brought about by a new political orientation in the Czech Republic after the revolutionary events of 1989, new media were considered to be one of the tools that would assist with overcoming the past and help with constituting the new democratic social system. Much hope was placed upon this new technology, which was expected to facilitate radical social change. This study will apply the social constructivist approach to the emergence of new technology that proceeds from the assumption that technological change is driven by social processes rather than any technological logic. However, instead of focusing exclusively on the shaping of the design and technical content of technology (Bijker, 1987; Wajcman & MacKenzie, 1999), I would like to research the image of technology, regardless of the extent to which it actually corresponded with reality. I believe that the value of social predictions lies, primarily, in what the media tell us about repetitive moments and imaginative reactions of society to technology, which has to devise ways of coping with its own inventions. In doing so, I will revise and use the concept of technological imagination (Flichy, 2007) to draw attention to the way that dissatisfactions with social reality and desires for a better society are projected onto technologies. I would like to show the period of emerging new technology as a mix of tradition and innovation in which imagination plays a great role. After recognising the different imaginations of certain Czech media discourses, which played a role in shaping the portrayal of new media, I would like to examine new media from the perspective of myths, utopias, and ideologies. Methodologically, the project will use the Foucauldian method of analysing the new technology discourse (Foucault , 2002), using Czech specialised publications, journals, catalogues, etc. By investigating the discourse , within the specific historical situation of the Czech Republic after 1989, I would like to outline the deeply ingrained ways in which we think, talk, and write about new technologies.