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Technological Determinism - Essay Example

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This paper looks at the arguments given for and against technological determinism. Technological determinism invokes the assumption that technology controls culture and societal activities. This assumption figures prominently in today’s political and non-political rhetoric…
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Technological Determinism
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Technological Determinism

Download file to see previous pages... This research will begin with the definition of technological determinism as a theory that holds that technology is an independent force that can change and does change society. It is a reductionist theory that argues that technology drives and controls the development of cultural values and social structure of different societies. The term technological determinism was coined by Thorstein Veblem when he stated that “technology marches in seven-league boots from one ruthless, revolutionary conquest to another, tearing down old factories and industries, flinging up new processes with terrifying rapidity”. This statement means that technology has the ability to determine major aspects of human history. Those who support this theory do not see technology as a part of the larger human existence and activity, instead, they consider it to be a basis for all human activity. Determinism in this context opposes the doctrine of free will by insisting that technology influences human behavior and culture.  It also opposes the idea that technologies and social structures co-develop in emergent patterns that are unpredictable. Technology determinism has been used in the analysis of developments and changes within the social-economic context. Despite the strong arguments presented by technological determinists about technology influencing and even controlling society, critiques have faulted these claims on the ground that technology cannot solely be responsible for human evolution and society also plays a huge role in the development of the said technology....
Slack and Wise (2005) show how technology has played a central role on the advancement of modern culture. They focus on the western culture where they argue that technological determinism plays the role of organizing the way in which people understand and act in the context of the technology-culture relationship. The authors hold that technology is important in the definition of culture. They point out that in popular discussions, there are many times when In technology determinism, the significance of any type of technology is determined by the effects they have or are likely to have on people’s lives. These effects are considered to be the primary determining factors of cultural change (Winner, 2006). According to Winner, technological determinism relies upon two main hypotheses: one is the belief that the fundamental factor affecting societal existence patterns is the society’s technical base; another is the belief that a society’s single most important cause of change is technological change. This view espouses that the characteristic definition of what being human means is pegged on technology. Winner continues to argue that technology is autonomous, that is, it develops irreversibly and independently in an outward expansion. Some supporters of Technological determinism point out that statements pertaining to technological determinism are commonly uttered in various contexts of human interactions. They give the example of Marx’s statement that “the hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the stream mill society with the industrial capitalist” (McLellan, 2000). Many technological determinants argue that Marx statement supported the idea that technology had a huge role in controlling society and culture. They interpret Marx’s ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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bettie35 added comment 23 days ago
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I had an issue with a essay types of works. All until I came across this website and this particular paper. Even though "Technological Determinism" is far from my interests, the structure is so great that I use it all the time as an example for my own works.
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