Reading Neil Postman's Technopoly in 20xx

A chapter by chapter journey into Technopoly and the tech criticism of Neil Postman

Reading Neil Postman's Technopoly in 20xx

Neil Postman was an astute critic of education, culture, and technology. Published in 1990, Technopoly builds off his analysis of the evolution of media technologies in Amusing Ourselves to Death and critiques contemporary society's submission to what he calls technopoly.

Postman defines technopoly as “the submission of all forms of cultural life to the sovereignty of technique and technology,” and we're still discovering the fruits of this arrangement 30 years after he named the roots. Postman is a major figure in what Alan Jacobs calls "the Standard Critique of Technology," whose other proponents include Jacques Ellul and Ursula M. Franklin. I value Postman for his insight but also for his accesibility. He's highly readable and if you'd like a better sense of how we got here – the social media circuses and a political process that barely hides its contempt for the public or naked self-interest – Postman will clearly mark the path.

Towards Technolopy is an ongoing series at Common Pursuits

Technopoly in 2020 - Reading Neil Postman
If we’re already deep in what Postman called technopoly, we shouldn’t slouch towards whatever comes next. Join Matt Civico in thinking through Technopoly in 2020.
Towards Technopoly: The Judgement of Thamus
Reading Neil Postman Series – In the opening chapter of Technopoly, Postman makes a case for taking technological change seriously. The cultural transformation caused by new technologies happens quickly, but it doesn’t have to happen thoughtlessly.
Chapter 1
Towards Technopoly: From Tools to Technocracy
Cultures, Postman says, can be divided into tool-using societies, technocracies, and finally, technopolies. Let’s begin with tools.
Chapter 2
Towards Technopoly: From Technocracy to Technopoly
The machinery of the new technocracy was most efficient when people were seen not as “children of God or even citizens but as consumers—that is to say, as markets.”
Chapter 3
Towards Technopoly: The Improbable World
Postman describes the dangers of an instant and functionally unlimited media environment.
Chapter 4
Towards Technopoly: The Broken Defences
However imperfect the former things were, Postman is determined to argue for the value of the things we’ve lost.
Chapter 5

Ongoing; check here for monthly-ish updates

Source: Old Book Illustrations

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