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Chapter 22

CHAPTER 22 detailed notes FOR 4.0

13 Pages
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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCA02H3
Professor
Malcolm Mac Kinnon

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CHAPTER 22: TECHNOLOGY AND THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT
TECHNOLOGY: SAVIOUR OR FRANKENSTEIN?
August 6, 1945: Americans dropped atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing 200,000
Japanese (mostly civilians)
Bombing of Hiroshima divides twentieth century into two time periods:
1)The Era of Naïve Optimism:
Before the bombing took place
People believed that technology could do no wrong
TECHNOLOGY (as defined before the bombing): The application of
scientific principles to the improvement of human life
It seemed that technology was a one-way street to progress and
technological advancements produced great tangible benefits
Scientists were regarded very highly
2)After the bombing:
Growing pessimism towards technology following the first nuclear
bombing in Alamogordo Bombing Range in New Mexico, and then three
weeks later, the second, on Hiroshima
J. Robert Oppenheimer, head of the top-secret Manhattan Project along
with 3 past and 7 future Nobel Prize winners designed the atomic bomb
(Oppenheimer = father of atomic bomb)
After this bombing, many people began to perceive all forms of technology
as highly harmful
Technology also gave rise to many other disasters form 1970s-1980s:
1976: Legionnaires Disease Outbreak Disease-causing pathogen spread
through air-conditioning systems and aerosol containers caused 34 deaths
1977: Dangerous toxic chemicals discovered leaking into basements and
drinking water of residents of Love Canal, near Niagara Falls, New York
www.notesolution.com
1979: Partial meltdown of reactor core at Three Mile Island nuclear facility in
Pennsylvania caused lethal radioactive water and gas emission into the
environment
1984: Gas Leak at Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal India killed
4000 people and injured 30,000 (1/3rd of which died later)
1986: Explosion of No. 4 reactor at Chernobyl Ukraine released 30-40 times
the radioactivity of Hiroshima causing 10,000 deaths, mutations in humans
and animals, and unusable crop land
1989: Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska spilling 42 million litres of crude
oil, causing billions of dollars worth of damage, and killing many animals
Charles Perrow: Defined these events as normal accidents
NORMAL ACCIDENTS: Refers to the concept that the very complexity of modern
technologies ensures that they will inevitably fail, but in unpredictable ways
Ulrich Beck: We live in a risk society
RISK SOCIETY: A society in which technology distributes danger among all
categories of the population
Some categories in a risk society are more exposed to danger than others
Also a risk society does not only involve technological accidents, but instead also
comprises of environmental threats (e.g. greenhouse effect, global warming, acid
rain, etc) these threats are considered more stressful than technological accidents
in a risk society
Neil Postman: Refers to the U.S. as the first technopoly
TECHNOPOLY: A society in which technology has taken over culture thus,
technology obliges people to solve problems in a technical manner, as opposed to
based on moral criteria
Biotechnology: Involves mapping the human genome and genomes of animals and
plants to give rise to genetically modified species sceptics maintain that this could
prove to be the greatest technological threat
TECHNOLOGY AND PEOPLE MAKE HISTORY
www.notesolution.com
Nikolai Kondratiev: first social scientist to recognize that technologies are invented
in clusters
A new group of major inventions crops up every 40-60 years since Industrial
Revolution they cause major economic growth spurts 10-20 years later and these
growth spurts last 25-35 years
Kondratiev subscribes to a form of technological determinism
TECHNOLOGICAL DETERMINISM: The belief that technology is the major force
shaping human society and history
*See Table 22.1
Does technology help shape human history and society? Yes but technology does
not lead to economic growth until we allow it to
Example: Original steam engine developed in first century CE by Hero of Alexandria
however it was not important and people forgot about it a while later 1700 years
later, when the Industrial Revolution began, it was reinvented by James Watt; at
this time, the steam engine was extremely useful to drive factories
Also, the need for the internal combustion engine developed by Daimler became the
basis of automobile and petroleum industries due to Henry Fords establishment of
the assembly line it was a way of producing cheap cars for masses, and took over
its competitor, Stanley Steamer, which produced steam-driven automobiles
Same pattern is noted for computers: John Atanasoff stopped working on his
invention, the computer, when WWII broke out however, once the militant
potential of the computer was discovered, the development of the computer was
resumed
Colossus: Computer that led to victory for Britain; ORDVAC: early computer that
helped the U.S. army
HOW HIGH TECH BECAME BIG TECH
In the 19th century, gaining technological advantage was inexpensive (required
modest capital, little knowledge, and a handful of highly trained workers)
In contrast, in the 20th and 21st centuries, technology requires enormous capital
investment, detailed attention to the way work is organized, and legions of technical
experts
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Description
CHAPTER 22: TECHNOLOGY AND THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT TECHNOLOGY: SAVIOUR OR FRANKENSTEIN? August 6, 1945: Americans dropped atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing 200,000 Japanese (mostly civilians) Bombing of Hiroshima divides twentieth century into two time periods: 1) The Era of Nave Optimism: Before the bombing took place People believed that technology could do no wrong TECHNOLOGY (as defined before the bombing): The application of scientific principles to the improvement of human life It seemed that technology was a one-way street to progress and technological advancements produced great tangible benefits Scientists were regarded very highly 2) After the bombing: Growing pessimism towards technology following the first nuclear bombing in Alamogordo Bombing Range in New Mexico, and then three weeks later, the second, on Hiroshima J. Robert Oppenheimer, head of the top-secret Manhattan Project along with 3 past and 7 future Nobel Prize winners designed the atomic bomb (Oppenheimer = father of atomic bomb) After this bombing, many people began to perceive all forms of technology as highly harmful Technology also gave rise to many other disasters form 1970s-1980s: 1976: Legionnaires Disease Outbreak Disease-causing pathogen spread through air-conditioning systems and aerosol containers caused 34 deaths 1977: Dangerous toxic chemicals discovered leaking into basements and drinking water of residents of Love Canal, near Niagara Falls, New York www.notesolution.com 1979: Partial meltdown of reactor core at Three Mile Island nuclear facility in Pennsylvania caused lethal radioactive water and gas emission into the environment 1984: Gas Leak at Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal India killed 4000 people and injured 30,000 (13 of which died later) 1986: Explosion of No. 4 reactor at Chernobyl Ukraine released 30-40 times the radioactivity of Hiroshima causing 10,000 deaths, mutations in humans and animals, and unusable crop land 1989: Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska spilling 42 million litres of crude oil, causing billions of dollars worth of damage, and killing many animals Charles Perrow: Defined these events as normal accidents NORMAL ACCIDENTS: Refers to the concept that the very complexity of modern technologies ensures that they will inevitably fail, but in unpredictable ways Ulrich Beck: We live in a risk society RISK SOCIETY: A society in which technology distributes danger among all categories of the population Some categories in a risk society are more exposed to danger than others Also a risk society does not only involve technological accidents, but instead also comprises of environmental threats (e.g. greenhouse effect, global warming, acid rain, etc) these threats are considered more stressful than technological accidents in a risk society Neil Postman: Refers to the U.S. as the first technopoly TECHNOPOLY: A society in which technology has taken over culture thus, technology obliges people to solve problems in a technical manner, as opposed to based on moral criteria Biotechnology: Involves mapping the human genome and genomes of animals and plants to give rise to genetically modified species sceptics maintain that this could prove to be the greatest technological threat TECHNOLOGY AND PEOPLE MAKE HISTORY www.notesolution.com
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