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Silicon Valley Imperialism: Techno Fantasies and Frictions in Postsocialist Times

iunie 6 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

The Sociology Research Seminar on June 6th features a new book that takes very seriously the invocation of Silicon Valley in contemporary Romania (and particularly so in Cluj-Napoca). In this multi-sited ethnography, Erin McElroy expands the analytical scope of technocapitalism while, at the same time, breathing new life into postsocialist studies. Erin’s presentation will be followed by brief commentaries from Enikő Vincze (FSE-UBB; Căși Sociale Acum) and George Zamfir (Căși Sociale Acum) as well as a public discussion (moderated by Oana Mateescu).
📌In this presentation, Erin McElroy will discuss Silicon Valley Imperialism: Techno Fantasies and Frictions in Postsocialist Times, just published with Duke University Press. The book maps out processes of gentrification, racial dispossession, and economic predation that drove the development of Silicon Valley in the San Francisco Bay Area and also looks at how that logic has become manifest in postsocialist Romania. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and archival research in Romania and the United States, McElroy exposes the mechanisms through which the appeal of Silicon Valley technocapitalism devours space and societies, displaces residents, and generates extreme income inequality in order to expand its reach. The book also explores how in Romania, dreams of privatization have updated fascist pasts, often in the name of anticommunism. At the same time, McElroy accounts for the ways that activists resist Silicon Valley capitalist logics, building upon socialist-era worldviews not to restore state socialism but rather to establish more just social formations. Attending to the violence of Silicon Valley imperialism, McElroy reveals technocapitalism as an ultimately unsustainable model of rapacious economic and geographic growth.
Erin McElroy is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Washington and is cofounder of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project. At UW, McElroy runs the Anti-Eviction Lab and Landlord Tech Watch, and focuses on intersections of gentrification, racial capitalism, US empire, and technology, as well as housing justice and international solidarities. McElroy is author of Silicon Valley Imperialism: Techno Fantasies and Frictions in Postsocialist Times (Duke, 2024), and has published in numerous peer reviewed journals and public scholarship venues. To this end, McElroy coedits the Radical Housing Journal and is a part of several networks dedicated to housing justice research.
Book cover art illustration by Alex Horghidan.


iunie 6
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
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Facultatea de Sociologie și Asistență Socială