A New Frontier for Liberation Theology? A Critical, Theological Investigation of Attention Colonisation in Advanced Technological Societies

  • Adam McPeak

Student thesis: Phd


Recent academic and popular discourse has understood the personal and social costs from increasingly powerful and persuasive technologies in terms of abuse, colonisation and oppression. Albert Borgmann also argues there is a concealed form of captivity and deprivation among technological citizens which he calls advanced poverty. Despite a wide recognition of suffering and exploitation amidst increasing human/technological imbrication, liberation theology has given no serious attention to oppression/emancipation within a culture of technology. Technology, however, is not simply privileged means for pursuing the promises of modernity, it carries the mark of capitalism and a distinct way of taking up the world. Today, emerging asymmetries of knowledge and power prompt a consideration of predatory persuasive technologies, the complicity of all techno-citizens and the opportunities for freedom in this context. This project is interested to understand whether captivity and deprivation within a culture of technology is credible and recognisable today. Could persons in anything like 'advanced poverty' be a locus theologicus in the liberationist tradition? I broadly conclude that attention colonisation amidst techno-capitalistic escalation is a real form of injury, an ongoing suffering or oppression, deserving of theology's consideration. These intensifying conditions require resistance/reform within the designs and uses of devices, as well as practices of voluntary poverty or re-burdenment which have the effect of retarding escalation, opening spaces for rewilding in the technosystem and lowering us back down to earth, where the significance of vulnerable persons and things is rediscovered and celebrated. A liberation theology of technology is necessary for persons enduring emerging forms of oppression and colonisation in an increasingly technified world
Date of Award1 Aug 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPeter Scott (Supervisor) & Scott Midson (Supervisor)


  • technosystem
  • techno-capitalistic escalation
  • tech hegemony
  • nonperson
  • ghosting process
  • preferential option for the poor
  • anti-spiritual poverty
  • metapoverty
  • technology addiction
  • tech addiction
  • finitude
  • self-limitation
  • theology of human accommodation
  • theology of human condescension
  • culture of technology
  • Andrew Feenberg
  • liberation theology of technology
  • attention colonisation
  • theology of technology
  • rewilding
  • Gustavo Gutiérrez
  • Albert Borgmann
  • liberation theology
  • surveillance capitalism
  • attention economy
  • voluntary poverty
  • blessed burdens
  • advanced poverty
  • philosophy of technology
  • commodification

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