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Rites, Roles, and Rituals in Tech

March 10, 2021 at 7:00 pm GMT

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In this Interintellect Salon, Suzan Bond and Maggie Appleton will explore the curious cultural rituals, rites of passage, and social roles that define the “tech” industry today – or rather, our lack of them.

“Tech” is presented as a place for dreamers who long to disrupt the status quo. This ethos permeates everything from institutional knowledge to organizational structures to meaning. Tech’s obsession with youth and innovation means we prioritize new ways of working over established wisdom and mature experience. Challenging traditional systems can open up new possibilities, but what do we lose while we’re busy trying to change everything?

With new companies, new markets, and new job titles springing up all over the place, there’s little time to develop rich cultural rituals and traditions. The social roles we play are tenuous and always shifting.  We end up swimming in job titles with increasingly vague descriptions – we become “unicorns,” “wizards,” and “T-shaped” all-rounders. It’s unclear how we transition from one role to the next when there are very few rites of passage that mark our changes in responsibility, authority, and institutional power.

What happens to ancestral wisdom, incremental improvement, and generational expertise if we’re always starting from scratch? How does knowledge accumulate in an industry where nothing is saved or sacred?

In this salon we’ll explore:

  • Why we need clear social roles and scripts to be effective members of a community
  • How social frames and social scripts are a form of technology that develops over time
  • How cultural rituals create a sense of belonging
  • Why traditions are important to give us continuity and meaning, and the pitfalls of neglecting them
  • Why the tech industry is especially prone to disregarding mature, generational knowledge, and how this attitude affects whose opinion is valued, and whose is not
  • How it’s difficult to understand your role when there’s no script and the play going on around you is constantly changing.

Reading List



Time zones


11:00 am San Francisco
2:00 pm New York
7:00 pm London
8:00 pm Berlin


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March 10, 2021
7:00 pm GMT
Salon Category: