Thomas J Misa (2003) The Compelling Tangle of Modernity and Technology, Publisher: MIT Press, Modernity and technology (2003) Pages: 1-30
The goals of this volume are: 1. To examine modernist icons such as clocks, railways and airports in the light of social theory 2. To understand technology as an embodiments of human needs and desires, the interactions of networks and systems. Modernity is charactarized following Weber by rationalization and following Marx, by concious change. Airports are brought as examplary complexes embodying modernity and technology. Modernity is bound with technology and every human experience in the modern world is mediated by technology.As much as we may desire to escape this nexus, we must confront it as humans and scholars and this is the task of this volume. What is the relation between modernity and technology? Proposal 1: The concepts “technology and “modeniry” have a complex and tengled history. So what is modern? In popular use it means the latest and necessarily the best, phase of an ongoing parade towards a better future. It is indeed bound with the idea of progress. This tie between modern technology and social progress was central to early 20th century thinkers. Modernist artists, influenced by American technology and managerial models, emphasized too, regularity, order and rationality. More recent recent traced the origins of the modern world to earlier revolutions, such as the sientific or industrial ones, or even to economic changes in the late middle ages. Others pointed to enlightenment as the touchstone of modernity due to its concern with rationality and social progress. To conclude, modernity as a multifaceted process is very hard to capture and define.It is the same with technology. The meanings of the term changed over time, assuming their contemporary meaning only after the mid 19th century. Proposal 2: Technology may be the truely distinctive feature of modernity There is a gap between social theories and empirical studies od technology, which this volume tries to bridge. Social theorists have described modern society as subjegated to technology, which was usually presented abstracly, without any reference to the messy, disorganized way by which problem solving technolgies are born and diffused. Technology in this writing is a unitary totalizing entity which is usually contrasted with “traditional” concepts such as the “self”, “lifeworld” etc.
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