”The Force is Great” Enchantment And Magic in Silicon Valley

Stef Aupers

Abstract

In the social sciences, magic and technology are generally depicted as incompatible. Challenging this claim and, more specifically, the assumption that technological experts are at the frontier of a progressive ‘disenchantment of the world’, this contribution presents a strategically selected case study of renowned programmers in Silicon Valley who refer to themselves as ‘technopagans’. These specialists conceive ofthe act of programming as magical, because they feel they interact with a technology-based reality that can no longer be completely understood and controlled.Technopaganism can thus be explained by classical theories of Marett and Malinowski in which they connect magic to feelings of insecurity and impotence vis-à-visthe (natural) environment. Paradoxically, it is concluded, the modern process of rationalization produces a re-enchantment of digital technology.

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