Appropriating technologies: The political economy and routinization of artefacts and devices

Welcome to our seminar, more information about program, venue etc. can be found under the left-hand menu


News:  Mails have now been sent out with the program and information for presenters. 


Keynote speakers:

  • Generator Life, Professor Brian Larkin, Barnard College, Columbia University
  •  Infrastructure, Political Technologies, and the Limits of Appropriation, Associate Professor Antina von Schnitzler, Public Engagement, The New School, New York
  • Sensory Politics and Everyday Lighting Habits, Associate Professor Mikkel Bille, Department of People and Technology, Roskilde University

Technologies are ubiquitous in people’s lives, from the credit cards used in countless daily transactions to water infrastructures, domestic appliances and medical technologies that enable people to live with chronic diseases. Whether imbricated into practices of cleanliness, sustenance, health, nourishment, livelihood, sustainability, connecting or indeed enjoyment, technologies – understood as artefacts and devices created to enlarge people’s powers and capacities – can be both enduring and increasingly specialized or ‘smart’. Once available, new technologies can be rejected, accepted or retooled in different ways. And, as technologies become a routine part of daily life, they often generate particular forms of habituated practice and specific forms of sociality.

The “Appropriating Technologies” seminar will focus on routes of routinization in different technological fields – e.g. trading, energy, telecommunications, food, welfare, health and medicine, water, housing or transportation. A focus on routinization allows for explorations of the socio-historical conditions of the mass production, circulation and distribution of particular technologies often as part of larger assemblages, apparatuses or infrastructures; the habituated daily micro-practices that tend to coalesce around particular technologies; and the ways in which specific technologies come to be appropriated and retooled – often in unimagined or unintended ways – by persons going about their everyday affairs. The goal of our seminar is to locate localized interactions with and appropriations of technologies by persons and communities within broader structures, hegemonies, and inequalities of power, production, distribution and consumption across different scales, e.g. local market places, regional spheres of exchange, transnational regimes of value and (mistrust), and global chains of capital and production. Likewise, seminar participants will explore how particular technologies come to be developed and ‘rolled out’ through the market or as part of governmental programmes.


How can anthropological approaches contribute to the study of how specific technologies are developed, adapted, routinized or appropriated?


Organized by the Technology and Political Economy (TAPE) researcher group at the Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, the “Appropriating technologies” seminar is a part of The Research Network for the Anthropology of Technology ( seminar series. The seminar will take place over 2 days in September 2018 with keynote lectures as well as paper presentations. Participants will include anthropologists working in the private sector, governmental agencies as well as within the academy.


The seminar is free of cost and dinner, lunch and coffee/snacks will be included


Location of the seminar is on Søndre Campus, Erik Holms Kanal 2, København S 2300 -