The good despot: Technology firms’ interventions in the public sphere

Eran Tamir, Roei Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examine how the technology industry intervenes in social domains not directly tied to its products, services, and immediate commercial concerns. We intend to develop a framework for considering the ways technology and the technology industry reshape these domains in ways both intended and unintended. Drawing on sociologies of knowledge and technology and a set of 20 semi-structured interviews with technology workers and HR professionals working in the Israeli facilities of two large multi-national technology firms, we find evidence that the intervention allows the industry to re-purpose public education as a means of nurturing a firm’s workforce with the goal of remaining competitive in a tight labor market both nationally and globally. In parallel, the programs allow workers to experience satisfying and pleasant interactions. These re-purposing interventions might aggravate existing education inequality while further cementing the legitimacy of a dominant industry as a model for an idealized commercial society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-36
Number of pages16
JournalPublic Understanding of Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • information technology intervention in education
  • rhetoric of science and technology
  • technological sublime
  • technology corporations and public schools

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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