Sociology, Lecture 18
March 23, 2011
Era of Naïve Optimism – after Japanese bombing
•Technology is often defined as the application of scientific principles to the improvement
of human life.
•The term normal accident recognizes that the very complexity of modern technologies
ensures they will inevitably fail, though in unpredictable ways.
oi.e. large computer prog ram (Window 7) contains conditional statements a=b do c,
when in use the program activates many combinations of conditional statements.
Therefore, when rare combinations come into play unforeseen consequences
follow. Blue screen, conditional statement that t he computer prog rammer couldn’t
•A risk society is a society in which technology distributes danger and advantage among
all social groups. However, some categories are more exposed than others.
oBeck said we all live in a r isk society. Environmental threats are more chronic,
therefore more stressful.
•Genetic pollut ion refer to the health and ecological dangers that may result from
artificially splicing genes together
•Recombinant DNA is a technique that involves artificially joining bits of DNA from a
donor to the DNA of a host.
Environmental issues become social problems when…
1) Policy-oriented scientists, the environmental movement, the mass media, and respected
organizations must discover and promote the issues.
2) People must connect real-life events to the information learned from these groups.
3) Scientists, industrial interests, and politicians who dispute the existence of environmental
threats must fail to convince the public that the threat is illusor y and human intervention
•Socially distributed, issues like environment degradation may affect everyone but it
doesn’t affect everyone on the same degree