Cultural Techniques, or, the End of the Intellectual Postwar in German Media Theory
The chapter relates the re-emergence of cultural techniques (a concept first employed in the 19th century in an agricultural context) to the changing intellectual constellation of postwar Germany. More specifically, it traces how the concept evolved from – and reacted against – so-called German media theory, a decidedly anti-hermeneutic and anti-humanist current of thought frequently associated with the work of Friedrich Kittler. Post-hermeneutic rather than anti-hermeneutic in its outlook, the reconceptualization of cultural techniques aims at presenting them as chains of operations that link humans, things, media and even animals. To investigate cultural techniques is to shift the analytic gaze from ontological distinctions to the ontic operations that gave rise to the former in the first place. The chapter also includes a discussion of the similarities and differences between German and North American posthumanism.
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