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Pathology and Technology

Killer Apps and Sick Users

D. Travers Scott

Pathology & Technology is the first comprehensive look at "technopathologies." Since the days of the telegraph, electric communication technologies have been associated with causing or worsening mental and physical illnesses. Today, news reports warn of Pokémon Go deaths and women made vulnerable to sexual assault from wearing headphones. Drawing on an archive of hundreds of cases found across news, entertainment, and other sources over 150 years, this book investigates the intersection of technology and disease through original cultural historiography, focus groups, and discourse analysis, documenting a previously unexplored phenomenon in communication and media. Technopathologies occur with new and old media, the book argues, and are ultimately about people—not machines. They help define users as normal or abnormal, in ways that often align with existing social stereotypes. Courses on technological history, medical humanities, science and technology studies, and medical history will find much here to debate, in a style written to appeal to scholarly as well as popular readers.

List of Illustrations – Acknowledgments – Introduction: Pathological Technoculture: Sick Users and Reinforced Stereotypes – Pathology Shapes Subjects: Gendering and Normalizing – Audiences and Users: A False Dichotomy of Entangled Subjects – Not So Crazy: Electrical Logics of Technopathologies – The Electrical Banal: Anderson, SC, "The Electric City" – Not So New: Historic Continuity and the Pathologization of Users – Technopathologies as Social Disease: Reproducing Good and Bad Users – Technopathologies as Outbreaks: Carriers and Demonized Collectivity – Conclusion: All Users Are Sick: The Normalization of Disease – Index.