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DismantlingsWords against Machines in the American Long Seventies$
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Matt Tierney

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501746413

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501746413.001.0001

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Liberation Technology

Liberation Technology

(p.125) Chapter 6 Liberation Technology

Matt Tierney

Cornell University Press

This chapter talks about liberation technology as a term for a situated theory of communitarian tool-use, developed in the activist and philosophical work of Seneca leader John C. Mohawk, also known as Sotsisowah. Discrete from other ways of thinking about machines and freedom, liberation technology more closely resembles the techniques and tools of what Maria Mies and Carol DeChellis Hill, in very different registers, called a politics of subsistence. When politics of technology and survival are seen as largely local, there remain ways to flourish at a subsistence level on the outer edge of the technologized world. Liberation technology grants that there is both value and risk in having nothing, or almost nothing. It names the basic material and collective strategy that can facilitate a transformation of shared life even under extremely exploited conditions. It is a hybrid concept, coined by Mohawk in a speech before the UN in 1977, which synthesizes liberation theology with appropriate technology, and might lead to unexpected kinds of shared belief and action.

Keywords:   liberation technology, John C. Mohawk, Sotsisowah, appropriate technology, liberation theology

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