Unintended by Design: On the Political Uses of “Unintended Consequences”

Nassim Parvin, Anne Pollock


This paper revisits the term “unintended consequences,” drawing upon an illustrative vignette to show how it is used to dismiss vital ethical and political concerns. Tracing the term to its original introduction by Robert Merton and building on feminist technoscience analyses, we uncover and rethink its widespread usage in popular and scholarly discourses and practices of technology design.


unintended consequences; technological utopianism; god trick; angel trick; feminist killjoy; feminist STS

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17351/ests2020.497

Copyright (c) 2020 Nassim Parvin, Anne Pollock

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