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dc.contributor.authorRider, Karinaen
dc.date.accessioned2021-07-13T15:44:56Z
dc.date.available2021-07-13T15:44:56Z
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/28956
dc.description.abstractHow can digital technologies be designed for good rather than harm? Dozens of civic organizations under the “tech for good” banner have emerged in recent years to address exactly this question. Although these organizations have commendable goals, many scholars have criticized them for naively believing that technologies can solve complex social problems. However, we do not yet have empirical data on how they are, in practice, working to address local social problems. This study investigates one particular effort to design digital technologies for the common good: civic technology. Civic technology organizations are made up of technologists—employed or seeking employment in the high-tech industry—who volunteer in their spare time to build digital technologies to be used by municipal employees and local residents. Drawing on participant observation and interviews with civic technologists in the San Francisco Bay Area, I argue that civic technologists’ efforts end up being less about serving local residents and more about proving that, despite current critiques, the Big Tech industry can still ‘save the world.’ To capture the complex dynamics which lead volunteers to repair their investment in the Big Tech industry even as they critique it, I develop the concept of the “spirit of civic technology,” which is an ethos comprised of value judgments about what makes a ‘good’ technology, technologist, project, and organization, and which are exported from high-tech workplaces into civic organizations. I conclude the spirit of civic technology leads volunteers to inadvertently reinforce the epistemic, economic, and cultural power of Big Tech firms.en
dc.language.isoengen
dc.relation.ispartofseriesCanadian thesesen
dc.rightsQueen's University's Thesis/Dissertation Non-Exclusive License for Deposit to QSpace and Library and Archives Canadaen
dc.rightsProQuest PhD and Master's Theses International Dissemination Agreementen
dc.rightsIntellectual Property Guidelines at Queen's Universityen
dc.rightsCopying and Preserving Your Thesisen
dc.rightsThis publication is made available by the authority of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private study and research and may not be copied or reproduced except as permitted by the copyright laws without written authority from the copyright owner.en
dc.subjectcivic technologyen
dc.subjectcapitalismen
dc.subjectlaboren
dc.subjectvolunteeringen
dc.subjectsilicon valleyen
dc.subjectdigital technologyen
dc.titleVolunteering the Valley: Designing Technology for the Common Good in the San Francisco Bay Areaen
dc.typethesisen
dc.description.degreePhDen
dc.contributor.supervisorMöllers, Norma
dc.contributor.departmentSociologyen
dc.degree.grantorQueen's University at Kingstonen


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