Contemporary conceptualizations of technology go beyond the traditional interpretation of created things as simply neutral means to an end. They theorize technologies as objects, which embody regimes of power (the theory of technological politics), or scripts (actor-network theory), or values (critical theory of technology), or patriarchal thought structures (feminist theories of technology). As helpful as these theories may be to understand the inner relationship between the technosphere and human life, the way in which the life of the individuals in the world of things is imagined remains vague and imprecise. In this paper I will argue for a social theory of technology, which includes the subjective and intersubjective implications of technological artifacts. I will show how acting has shifted from the province of human subjects to the sphere of work and products. The created things now represent incarnated or reified actions. I will conclude that an understanding of human activity today has to embrace an imagination of how the inherent action principles of the objects situate the activities and relationships of the subjects to themselves and to others.
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Conference of the International Society for Theoretical Psychology, 2005