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Does Technology Drive History? : The Dilemma of Technological Determinism - Merritt Roe Smith

Does Technology Drive History?

The Dilemma of Technological Determinism

By: Merritt Roe Smith (Editor), Leo Marx (Editor)

Paperback Published: 1st April 1994
ISBN: 9780262691673
Number Of Pages: 298
For Ages: 18+ years old

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These thirteen essays explore a crucial historical questionthat has been notoriously hard to pin down: To what extent,and by what means, does a society's technology determine itspolitical, social, economic, and cultural forms?

These thirteen essays explore a crucial historical question that has been notoriously hard to pin down: To what extent, and by what means, does a society's technology determine its political, social, economic, and cultural forms? Karl Marx launched the modern debate on determinism with his provocative remark that "the hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill, society with the industrial capitalist," and a classic article by Robert Heilbroner (reprinted here) renewed the debate within the context of the history of technology. This book clarifies the debate and carries it forward.Marx's position has become embedded in our culture, in the form of constant reminders as to how our fast-changing technologies will alter our lives. Yet historians who have looked closely at where technologies really come from generally support the proposition that technologies are not autonomous but are social products, susceptible to democratic controls. The issue is crucial for democratic theory. These essays tackle it head-on, offering a deep look at all the shadings of determinism and assessing determinist models in a wide variety of historical contexts.

Contributors
Bruce Bimber, Richard W. Bulliet, Robert L. Heilbroner, Thomas P. Hughes, Leo Marx, Thomas J. Misa, Peter C. Perdue, Philip Scranton, Merritt Roe Smith, Michael L. Smith, John M. Staudenmaier, Rosalind Williams

Introduction
Technological Determinism in American Culturep. 1
Recourse of Empire: Landscapes of Progress in Technological Americap. 37
Do Machines Make History?p. 53
Technological Determinism Revisitedp. 67
Three Faces of Technological Determinismp. 79
Technological Momentump. 101
Retrieving Sociotechnical Change from Technological Determinismp. 115
Determinism and Indeterminacy in the History of Technologyp. 143
Technological Determinism in Agrarian Societiesp. 169
Determinism and Pre-Industrial Technologyp. 201
The Political and Feminist Dimensions of Technological Determinismp. 217
The Idea of "Technology" and Postmodern Pessimismp. 237
Rationality versus Contingency in the History of Technologyp. 259
Contributorsp. 275
Indexp. 277
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780262691673
ISBN-10: 0262691671
Series: Does Technology Drive History?
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 298
Published: 1st April 1994
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.2 x 15.7  x 1.5
Weight (kg): 0.42