Welcome to episode forty-seven of New Creation Conversations. In today’s conversation I am honored to be joined by Dr. Felicia Wu Song, Professor of Sociology at Westmont College, and the author of the brand new, and very important book, Restless Devices: Recovering Personhood, Presence, and Place in the Digital Age (published by IVP Academic). Dr. Song is a cultural sociologist who studies the place of digital technologies in contemporary life. Felicia is an alum of Yale University. She has a Master’s Degree from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Virginia (where she had the privilege of studying with James Davison Hunter). Her research is oriented around the rapidly evolving digital technology industry and how the adoption of social media and digital devices fundamentally alters the landscapes of family, community, and organizational life.
Our conversation centers around the new book: Restless Devices. In her book, Dr. Song explores how our contemporary digital habits shape our loves and our imaginations of what it means to be human. This book brings sociology and theology together, arguing that both are needed for understanding how to live wisely in a digitally saturated society. During this recent season of disruption, I have been deeply thankful for many aspects of our technological age and the unique ways it can connect people. For example, I’m thankful through new technologies to get to bring these weekly conversations to you. However, as Dr. Song and I will discuss, I also share deep concerns about what these technologies are doing to me – and to us. Media forms are not neutral. As Marshall McLuhan famously observed, “The medium is the message.” So, what are our technologies doing to us? How can we use and control them without feeling used and controlled by them? Those are the kinds of questions Felicia helps us wrestle with.