2004 volume 22(1) pages 175 – 190

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Thrift N, 2004, "Remembering the technological unconscious by foregrounding knowledges of position" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 22(1) 175 – 190

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Remembering the technological unconscious by foregrounding knowledges of position

Nigel Thrift

Received 25 March 2002; in revised form 6 November 2002

Abstract. In this paper I provide a description and preliminary analysis of the current 'technological unconscious'. I use this term to signify the basic forms of positioning and juxtapositioning which make up the basic 'atomic structure' of contemporary Euro-American life. Because of the potential vastness of the topic, I concentrate on just one form of positioning and juxtapositioning, namely the construction of repetition. The paper is in three parts. The first part provides a capsule history of how a very few templates of position and juxtaposition have become powered up into a capacious and effective background. In the second part of the paper I argue that in recent years the practice of these templates has been changing as a full-blown standardisation of space has taken hold. This standardisation is gradually leading to the crystallisation of a new kind of technological unconscious. In the third part of the paper I argue that the traces of this new kind of unconscious are taking hold in social theory as well, leading to the assumption of a quite different event horizon which can be thought of as a different kind of materiality.

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