Technology, Maturity, and Craft: Making Vinyl Records in the Digital Age

Business Ethics Quarterly 33 (3):532-564 (2023)
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Abstract

Drawing from Michel Foucault’s reading of Immanuel Kant’s essay “What is Enlightenment?,” and specifically his definition ofascesis, we associate maturity with a capacity for, and interest in, forming the self. On the basis of an empirical study of making vinyl records following the successful commercialization of digital media, we identify micro-disciplinary techniques of self-forming that emerge as enthusiasts steadily learn the craft of vinyl record manufacturing. It is, we argue, through technology, rather than against it, that organizational immaturity can be resisted. Craftwork involves testing and transforming, rather than just acquiring, traditional skills. Maturity involves an ongoing struggle of selectively and reflectively engaging with technologies via attempts to be the subject of one’s own subjection. The former contributes to the latter.

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Robin Holt
Copenhagen Business School

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