We examine the work that these imaginaries do for projects such as OLPC by evoking deeply held feelings about the value of (certain types of) play, creativity, and learning and the kind of child capable of them. In particular OLPC implicitly invokes the social imaginary of the technically precocious boy, which developed as an alternative to dominant notions of masculinity in the United States. This imaginary shows a “natural” mastery of technical toys as well as a particular kind of rebellious sensibility that enables technical tinkering – but is still exclusionary by connecting technical prowess to boys in particular.
Ames, M. G. (2019). OLPC’s Charismatic Roots: Constructionism, MIT’s Hacker Culture And the Technically Precocious boy. In The Charisma Machine. MIT Press.