Program on Science, Technology and Society at Harvard

Harvard Kennedy School of Government | Harvard University

Connected Publics: Power and Politics in a Networked Age

March 11, 2009, 5:00pm-7:00pm
Piper Auditorium, Gund Hall, 48 Quincy Street


How do the new forms of connectivity enabled by the internet affect flows of power in society? Does electronic communication create new forms of self-identification, new political sensibilities, or new avenues of empowerment? Or do old hierarchies get reinforced and familiar divisions, such as those between male and female or right and left, get more firmly entrenched through new routines? How do design choices affect relationships of power, for example, by selecting who should be connected to whom and across what sorts of spaces? Drawing on studies of teenagers and professional designers, cities and the blogosphere, this distinguished panel will lead us on a fascinating journey across today's changing public spheres. They will offer tantalizing glimpses into the democratic imaginations taking shape in cyberspace. Video of this lecture is located here.

A panel discussion featuring

Yochai Benkler

Harvard Law School

Antoine Picon

Harvard Graduate School of Design

Lucy Suchman

Sociology, Lancaster University & MIT [visiting]

Sherry Turkle


Moderated by

Sheila Jasanoff

Harvard Kennedy School

About the speaker

Yochai Benkler is the Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard, and faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. He writes about the Internet and the emergence of networked economy and society, as well as the organization of infrastructure, such as wireless communications. Antoine Picon is Professor of the History of Architecture and Technology and Co-Director of Doctoral Programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Trained as an engineer, architect, and historian of science and art, Picon is best known for his work in the history of architectural technologies from the eighteenth century to the present. Lucy Suchman is professor of anthropology of science and technology in the Department of Sociology at Lancaster University, and co-director of Lancaster's Centre for Science Studies. Previously, she spent twenty years at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center, where she was a founding member and manager of the Work Practice and Technology area. Her research includes ethnographic studies of everyday practices of technology design and use. Sherry Turkle is Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the MIT Program in Science, Technology, and Society, and the founder and director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, a center of research and reflection on the evolving connections between people and artifacts.


Photographs by Jean-Baptiste Labrune, licensed under Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0View the full Flickr set.

Yochai Benkler

Sherry Turkle

Antoine Picon and Lucy Suchman


This short excerpt from the event was edited by William Firestone.