Saturday, July 14, 2012


Why Socio-Technical Geography?

Theoretically speaking, who inspired me to go to graduate school was the Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky and his theory on cultural and historical development.  Today, Vygotsky’s ideas continue to be developed by the proponents of Activity theory.  One of Vygotsky’s main ideas was to understand development as an interaction between natural development, the social environment and cultural tools, hence the naming of the first part of the title, socio-technical.
The second part, geography, came from Actor-Network theory.  The proponents of this theory, such as Bruno Latour and Michel Callon, believe that to understand social reality one must (1) study how this reality is being defined by individuals’ interests and (2) how the tools used to construct such reality afford certain behaviors and understandings that shape how we perceive that reality.  From my perspective, then,  geography can be viewed as a plane where both humans and objects interact and influence one another

By combining both Activity theory and Actor-Network theory, I want to add the latter’s definition of tools to Vygotsky's understanding of cultural tools.