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Victoria University of Wellington
SOSC 111
Kevin Dew

Technology Argument  Technological development reflects social change  Technologies create new categories and new identities  Cannot anticipate how technologies will be developed, how they will be used and how they will be controlled  Assumption – the experience of technology is also the experience of a kind of social power Power  Power = the capacity to steer events in the direction you want them to go  Technology = tools that enhance the power of the users in connection with physical events  BUT it is also a social practice and a feature of the human condition Approaches to Technology Technological determinism  Heidegger – we do not ‘use’ technology, technology is part of us, it is naturalized for us in out experience of the world. We are “thrown” in our technology. This limits out view of the world and diminishes our experience (to instrumentalism).  For Heidegger, in modern thought the world appears to us as a resource  Technology determines the shape of society and our history  Technology develops according to its own inner logic  Utopian and dystopian versions  E.g. printing press caused the Reformation? Social determinism  Imposition of new technologies on workers o Labour Process Theory (Braverman) o Capital has intensified its domination over labour o Technology design embodies the class dynamics of society e.g. machine that reduce labors costs and demean workers  Gendered nature of technology design (Cockburn) o Typewriters originally based on sewing machines and pianos as this was women’s work o Printing industry standard compositor blocks designed to be heavy as this was men’s work Social Constructionism  Product of human choices but complex process of bargaining, unintended consequences etc.  E.g. Norbert Elias – State Formation and Civilization – Blocked seaports in Medieval Europe led to advanced in the harness and horseshoe (Elias)  Development resulted from: o Premium placed o
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