“Blockchain imaginaries: A Critical Analysis” – Inte Gloerich
This research aims to contribute to a better understanding of the societal and cultural consequences of blockchain technology. Blockchain technology is increasingly considered a new general-purpose technology that in the near future will play a role in many aspects of society. Blockchain technology is widely researched for its technical capacities but has yet to be fully recognized as a cultural force. This research aims to contribute to such recognition by means of a close analysis of sociotechnical imaginaries that exist around blockchain technology, as found in blockchain products as well as speculative design and blockchain art engaging with the technology.
A critical analysis of these sociotechnical imaginaries offers a useful tool to get a first understanding of what the socio-cultural implications of implementing this technology might be. How may this affect power relations? And who or what has agency? How may ideas of ownership and responsibility change when automation and anonymization become core features of governing systems? How may blockchain technology affect personal relations? Identifying these and other implications and thus contributing to understanding the possibilities and risks of large-scale implementation of blockchain technologies is the aim of this research.
Inte Gloerich is a PhD student at Transmission in Motion (Utrecht University) focusing on the sociotechnical imaginaries in blockchain art, design, and products. Besides this, she is a researcher and project coordinator at the Institute of Network Cultures (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences). Her work there involves the politics, artistic imagination, and (counter)cultures surrounding digital technology, digital economy, and online identity. She co-edited MoneyLab Reader 2: Overcoming the Hype (with Geert Lovink and Patricia de Vries) and State Machines: Reflections and Actions at the Edge of Digital Citizenship (with Yiannis Colakides and Marc Garrett). Inte received her Masters in New Media and Digital Cultures at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). She now teaches in the same program, as well as the BA in Media & Information at the UvA.