Haas: Preface to Writing Technology

Haas, C. (1996). Preface. Writing technology: studies on the materiality of literacy (p. ix-xv). Mahwah N.J.: L. Erlbaum Associates.



Defines the "technology question"--"the challenge of accounting for the relationship between writing--as both a cognitive process and a cultural practice to the material technologies that support and costrain it" (ix).


Notes that much needs to be understood about what writing entails, socially, individually, cognitively, culturally. Technology further complicates writing, but "writing has never been and cannot be separate from technology" (x) (reminiscent of Baron, "From Pencils to Pixels"). This relationship often overlooked. "The tendency is to look through computer technology to the economic, practical, political, or pedagogical goals that the technology might serve" (xi). This is the gap she addresses--transparency obscuring the connection. Defines technology as:


not an object, but rather a vital system that is bound to the world of time and space: that is, a technology is always inextricably tied both to a particular moment in human history and to the practical action of the human life world in which it is embedded (xii) Shades of Habermas?


Goal of text: examination of how writing and technology "constitute one another" (xii). 


Forecasts text: note-- "Theorizing Technology" (Ch 9) addresses question "How is it possible that material technologies, implements, and artifacts can alter and shape the mental processes by which writing occurs?" arguing that "writing [is] an embodied practice, a practice based in culture, in mind, and in body" (xv).