Society and Technological Change

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  • Edition: 7th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-01-04
  • Publisher: Worth Publishers

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Society and Technological Change is the best text available for undergraduate courses exploring the relationship between societal and technological change Brimming with Rudi Volti’s expertise and enthusiasm for its dynamic subject, this always timely volume helps students grasp the vast societal implications of a wide range of technological breakthroughs, both historic and contemporary.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
(* new to this edition)

Part 1 Orientations

1. The Nature of Technology
Defining Technology
Technological Advance and the Image of Progress
Technology as a Metaphor
Technology and Rationality
Technological Determinism (Moved from chapter 16)
Living in a Technological Society
Questions for Discussion

2. Winners and Losers: The Differential Effects of Technological Change
Technology as a Subversive Force
The Luddities
Whose Technology?
What Technology Can Do—And What It Cannot Do
The Technological Fix
Why Technology Can’t Always Fix It
The Appeal of Technocracy
The Technocrat’s Delusion
Questions for Discussion
Part Two The Process of Technological Change

3. The Sources of Technological Change
Technological Change as a Social Process
The Great Breakthrough
The “D” in R&D
All Together Now
Push and Pull
Belated Demand
Market Economies and Technological Advance
Noneconomic Sources of Technological Advance
Questions for Discussion

4. Scientific Knowledge and Technological Advance
The Historical Separation of Science and Technology
Studies of Contemporary Science–Technology Relationships
How Technology Differs from Science
How Technology Stimulates Scientific Discovery
Indirect Effects of Technology on Scientific Advance
The Commonalities of Science and Technology
The Translation of Science into Technology
Questions for Discussion

5. The Diffusion of Technology
The International Diffusion of Technology
Clever Copyists
Adaptation and Adoption
Learning to Make Steel in Old Japan
Appropriate Technology
Business Firms and Technological Diffusion
A Risky Business
The NIH Syndrome
Efforts to Restrict the Diffusion of Technology
Patents and the Diffusion of Technology
Questions for Discussion

Part Three How Technology Affects the Health of the Earth and Its Inhabitants

6. Technology, Energy, and the Environment
Fossil Fuels, Air Pollution, and Climate Change
A Planet under Stress
Is Technology the Problem or the Solution?
Some Technological Fixes of the Past
Alternatives to Fossil Fuels
Doing More with Less
More Miles to the Gallon
Economic Systems, Government Policies, and the Environment
Questions for Discussion

7. Medical Technologies
New Medical Technologies: Choices and Trade-Offs
The Case of Kidney Dialysis
Replacing Broken Hearts
Diagnostic Technologies
Medical Technologies and Medical Ethics
New Ways of Making and Sustaining Babies
When Does Life End? When Should It?
Halfway Technologies
Questions for Discussion

8. Genetic Technologies
The Genetic Fix
Discovering Genes and Patenting Them
Bioengineering on the Farm
Genetic Mapping and Screening*
Cloning, Present and Future*
Stem Cells and Future Therapies
The Ethics of Genetic Intervention
Questions for Discussion

Part Four Technology and the Transformation of Work

9. Work in Nonindustrial Societies
Working with the Earliest Tools
Work and Leisure in Technologically Primitive Societies
Work and the Development of Agriculture
Farming Techniques and Patterns of Work
The Ironies of Progress
Artisan and Craft Work
Guild Organization and Technological Change
Slavery and the Inhibition of Technological Development
The Measurement of Time and Changed Working Patterns
The Clock
Questions for Discussion

10. Technology and Jobs: More of One and Less of the Other?
The Technological Threat in Historical Perspective
A Case for Optimism
How Technology Creates Jobs
The Indirect Effects of New Technologies on Employment
The Machines Aren’t Ready to Take Over  
Technology, Jobs, and the Changing Structure of the Economy
Technology and the Distribution of Income
Technology, Globalization, and Jobs*  
Rebounding from Job Losses*
Benefits, but Disruption Too
Questions for Discussion

11. Technological Change and Life on the Job
Industrial Production
Machine-Paced Labor
Is Technology to Blame?
Industrial Technology and the Division of Labor
Scientific Management Once Again
Industrial Work and Recent Technological Developments
Technological Change and White-Collar Work
Smart Technologies and Dumb Jobs?
Questions for Discussion
Part Five Communication

12. Printing
The Printing Revolution
Printing and the Expansion of Knowledge
Printing and the Rise of Protestantism
Printing, Literacy, and Social Change
Psychological Effects of Printing
Circulation Wars and the Shaping of Public Opinion
Questions for Discussion

13. The Electronic Media: From the Telegraph to Television
The Invention of Radio
The Origins of Commercial Radio
The Rise of Television
The Federal Government Steps In
Problems of Regulation
The Television-Viewing Public
Violence on Television and Its Consequences
Delivering the News*
Television and Politics
Television and Thought
Questions for Discussion

14. The Internet Age      
The Birth and Growth of the Internet*
E-Mail and the Network Effect*
Mobile Communications*
More Digital Connections: Social Networks
Social Media and Social Movements*
Video Games   
The Digital Divide
Intellectual Property*
Privacy in the Digital Age*
The Electronic Media in Modern Society
Questions for Discussion

Part Six The Tools of Destruction

15. Weapons and Their Consequences
Military Technology in the Ancient World
Military Technology and the Feudal Order
New Weapons and the Decline of Feudalism
The Gunpowder Revolution
War and the Centralized State
Technological Change and Naval Culture in the Era of the Battleship
Weapons and the Making of the Modern World
Questions for Discussion

16. The Era of Smart Weapons*
Cruise Missiles*
Smart Bombs*
High-Tech Surveillance*
The Cost of Technological Sophistication*
Asymmetrical Warfare*
Technology and Terrorism*
Cyberterrorism and Cyberattacks
Military Technologies in a Changing World
Questions for Discussion

17. How New Weapons Emerge—And How They May Be Contained
Action and Reaction
Social Structure and the Development of Military Technologies
Organizational Interests and the Air Weapon
Social Revolution and the Enlargement of War
Industrial Technology in the Service of War
Controlling Military Technologies
Historical Attempts to Limit New Weapons
A Successful Example of Arms Control
Gun Control in Old Japan
The Control of Nuclear Weapons
Deterrence, but No More
The Perils of Proliferation
Questions for Discussion

Part Seven The Shaping and Control of Technology

18. Technology and Its Creators: Who’s in Charge of Whom?
Technological Advance and Cultural Lag
Technology, Globalization, and Cultural Convergence*
Experts, Expertise, and the Shaping of Technology
Engineers and the Control of Technology
Questions for Discussion

19. Organizations and Technological Change
Technology as a Cause of Organizational Structure
Technology as a Consequence of Organizational Structure
Organizations and New Information Technologies
Interorganizational Relations and Technological Development
Organizations and Technological Innovation
Entrepreneurs and Organizations
Questions for Discussion

20. Governing Technology
Government Actions and the Shaping of Technology
But Is It Really Necessary?
Government Institutions for the Guidance of Technology
The Democratic Control of Technology
The Challenges of the Future
Questions for Discussion



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