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CS100 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Quipu, The Star-Spangled Banner, Upper Paleolithic

Communication Studies
Course Code
Jade Miller
Study Guide

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CS100 Midterm Review
Technological Determinism
Tech changed the world
Linear development, society had progressed to that moment
Single inventor
One path
Social change – it’s positive, it drives progress
It steadily improves our lives
What is technology? What does it do
A tool that helps us to do something. Used to achieve a goal
Tool = technology + Human usage – A goal
Things like paper clip, chisel are technology
A piece of technology doesn’t have to be a pluggable
Cultural determinism
Complete opposite way of looking at technology
Technology is a product of and reflective of our culture
We make IT, not the other way around
Social need pushing development of technology
It’s a complex development without a single inventor
It occurs over time, subject of social force
Technology must fit into a pattern of activity which belongs to a particular lifestyle
and set of values if it’s to be of any use
Invent a technology to meet a need, even if the need isn’t realized right away
“Progress” and technology
What is progress?
People say that there’s been both progression and regression (use of phones in
negative and positive ways)
Does progress mean there must be a goal?
What types of goals make sense for humanity?
Do we all think that humankind has the same goal?
Definitions of success change, measurements change
oEx: Farming: grain output has increased enormously

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oFarming: energy per grain produced has also gone up
oFarming: move towards organic farming has been in steady decline e over
oBe careful when we talk about any type of change as international
How do we know if we are doing better than our grandparents? In what sense?
People like to talk about things getting worse in general
Socrates complained about writing when it was first introduced
People talk about things getting worse in general; yet tend to believe new
technologies have made life better. Neither is fully accurate.
Nye, Barlow
oA completely new technology
oVery rare
oEx. Supercomputer, light bulb
oNew ways to make a previous technology useful
oEx. Laptop
oLED lights
Diffusion of technologies
oNew uses
oThe work of designers, marketers, or innovative users adapting this
technology into their lives
Utopian vs dystopian visions of the future
Utopian visions
Tech development as Natural- natural progression
Ameliorative – improve everyday life
Transformative – new machines reshape social reality

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Dystopian Visions
oHegemonic – minority gains control via technology
oApocalyptic – new technologies are agents of doom
oSatiric – make life worse or reverse of intended outcomes
Schmandt-Besserat (“Earliest precursor to writing”)
Symbols vs. Signs
Schmandt is an archeologist working at U of Texas at Austin.
Symbols: Special meaning that allows us to conceive express and communicate
Ex: Black; symbol of death, Cross; Christianity, Star Spangled Banner; America
Signs are subcategory of symbols
Signs convey meanings that are more narrow, precise and unambiguous
Ex: I; Roman numeral for one
Symbols help us conceive and reflect on ideas, signs are communication devices
Symbols and signs have been around since the beginning of humanity
Symbols and signs = major key to understanding culture
Symbols can be different for different cultures
When a culture vanishes, the symbols become confusing
Symbolic relics from prehistoric societies usually cannot be interpreted
Data Storage
No symbols were preserved from the Lower Paleolithic period in the Near East
First found use of symbols was found to belong to the Middle Paleolithic period
Data are threefold
First piece of ocher found in Qafzeh Israel
No way of knowing what ocher was used for at the time
Red pigment on it suggest symbolic rather than functional purpose
Second set is Funeral paraphernalia (flowers or antlers)
The use of symbols in the Near East were usually for a ritual function
Third set is bone fragments with a serious of notches, found in caves in Kebara
Earliest known example of man made symbols in Near East
People in Kebara began modifying materials to translate ideas
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