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Day 16: Researching and Reflecting on Sherry Turkle’s Work

I’ve been in touch with Sherry Turkle, initially to request an interview.

The pre-eminent scholar on technology and us…

Right now, she’s buried under a pile of dissertations, grading or marking, as we say here in this country, and how well I understand the pressure of that task.

It is backbreaking work. She declined my request most graciously, but surprisingly expressed an interest in this blog.

Sherry Turkle is the pre-eminent scholar on technology and its impact on our lives. How it is defining our lives and our identities ~ who we are.

Right now I’m reading everything I can get my hands on by her and about her, as I am unable to interview her.

About Sherry Turkle…

“She is the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT and the founder (2001) and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self.  Professor Turkle received a joint doctorate in sociology and personality psychology from Harvard University and is a licensed clinical psychologist.

“She has been studying our changing relationships with digital culture for over three decades, charting how mobile technology, social networking, and sociable robotics are changing our work, families, and identity. Profiles of Professor Turkle have appeared in such publications as The New York TimesScientific American, and Wired Magazine. She is a featured media commentator on the social and psychological effects of technology for CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, the BBC, and NPR, including appearances on such programs as Nightline, Frontline, and 20/20.”

I need to research my subjects…

I cannot write about anything without research.

When I began writing about Texting, Technology and our Humanity, I didn’t realize how little I really knew, besides my own limited primary research and personal experience ~ I started working on a computer of sorts in 1978. A video display terminal. Things have changed dramatically and continue to change at lightning speed. Who can keep up? I can’t.

What I posted in 2009 is now such old news.

My neophyte observations…

Often, these days, I feel I’m wandering around the city outside a bunch of bubbles, not people. Robots? No one makes eye contact anymore. Smiling at someone and seeing a smile returned is a rarity. I am amazed that people walk their dogs while texting or talking on their cellphones, oblivious to the activities of their pets. Is this a real life?

Professor Turkle has spent 40 years immersed in questions about robotics and technology and human life.

In the introduction to her latest book, she touches on something about her research technique that really resonated with me, something I’ve said many times and known myself after more than 30 years as a reporter and feature writer, interviewing and profiling hundreds of people.

About “inner history”…

“As a psychoanalytically trained psychologist, I wanted to explore what I have called the inner history of devices,” Turkle wrote. “Discovering an inner history requires listening – and often not to the first story told. Much is learned from the tossed-off aside, the comment made when the interview is ‘officially’ over. To do my work, I adopted an ethnographic and clinical style of research as I lived in worlds new to me.”

Today I’m reading and reflecting. I need to. I gave you a tease in my last post. Now, I want to delve more deeply into these issues with the help of Professor Turkle.

See you tomorrow or even the next day.

Despite my promise to Blog every day for 31 days, I’m beginning to feel I need a bit of a blogging break and I’m not willing to let a Blogathon break me. It’s extremely intense work.

I hope you’ll understand.

Day 16: Researching and Reflecting on Sherry Turkle’s Work

Sandy Naiman

Sandy Naiman is a Toronto freelance journalist.

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APA Reference
Naiman, S. (2012). Day 16: Researching and Reflecting on Sherry Turkle’s Work. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 28, 2020, from


Last updated: 26 Jun 2012
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