Volume 24, Issue 1/2, 2020
Critical Constructivism and Postphenomenology: Ethics, Politics, and the Empirical
How Critical Constructivism and Postphenomenology Could Gather in Common Enterprise
Critical Constructivism and postphenomenology are two possible ways of describing, analysing and evaluating the role and meaning of technology in contemporary society and world. Whereas Critical Constructivism looks at the way technologies are dealt with on a macro level considering systems and programs, then postphenomenology digs into the individual and personal appropriation and understanding of technology in everyday life. This means that there is a gap for what concerns levels, but also in relation to what they want to accomplish. The critical stance of Andrew Feenberg in conceiving societal and political problems as ripe for radical technological change is met by postphenomenology’s pragmatic focus on how to build appropriate and meaningful structures for handling of emergent and imminent problems together with and through technology. This paper tries to bridge this gap by introducing the concept of scaffolding, which is inspired by Heidegger’s “Gestell,” but re-read in a new and different way than the usual pessimistic and deterministic interpretation where exploitation and “enframing” is at hand. Scaffolding is read as a common enterprise where we stretch and reach out towards each other in order to create platforms for interventions and activism. The paper is an attempt to direct this common enterprise in specific directions, and this directedness is indicative for our aims and goals. It is the claim that Critical Constructivism and postphenomenology should meet, and perform a certain kind of Techno-Activism when confronted with problems in technological society.