Culture and Technology
The Cultural Aspect of Technology
Fatemeh farahani | |
|Today in many developing countries insufficient progress in science and technology is considered to be the chief reason for | |general backwardness; on the contrary, many in the industrially advanced societies hold unfettered technological progress as| |the roots of all social ills. | |Is it really possible that all social and political upheavals of the past decades are the byproduct of thoughtless advance | |in technology? Does it make sense to think of technology as an ‘inhumane force’ that has somehow managed to throw ‘human | |relations’ into disorder and chaos. | |Are we faced with a kind of technological determinism that places man and society in a particular direction with no | |discernible horizon? Or is it after all possible that technology is independent, neutral and free of any values, whose | |benefits and faults are chiefly by the use to which it is put by man? | |Is it possible for traditional societies to import technology and then try to weave it into their own cultural fabric? Does | |technology cause alienation? Or is it, as an Iranian thinker has put it, a necessary evil equally harmful in presence as in | |absence? | |Finally, how are we equipped, the people of the Third World, to cope with the great power that technology is? And of course | |a host of other questions that are fashioned ever anew with respect to technology. | |The friction between technological development and the preservation of cultural values, in particular and the influence of | |the former upon the course of social and cultural changes have been a great source of controversy, the consideration of | |which is obviously beyond this assignment. Our main objective here is to discuss the cultural aspect of technology and the | |effect it has had on the cultural identity of the Third World. | |Today, human life is an industrial life. In this life which is governed by technical relations, all products are | |interrelated and interdependent, where the purchase of a product commits one to the purchase of another. Technology advances| |constantly and rapidly; what has been useful and favoured one day runs out of style next day. | |The Evolutionists introduced technology as the major component of culture and put the other components at second place | |holding that all the components of culture are affected by technology. In this regard Leslie White has introduced the most | |important theory on technological determinism. According to him not only technology determines the direction of cultural | |development, but it also determines the need for building social foundation.1 In fact technological determinism assumes that| |technological innovation is the driving force behind social change imposing its own logic on the social actors and their | |relations. | |Parsons believed that technology is a kind of capability on the part of the organization for a more effective control and | |necessary change in the physical environment in favour of human needs and demands.2 | |And A. Reddy wrote, "Science and technology carry the genetic codes of communities where they have been produced".3 | |Therefore technology is a product of the Western industrialized communities which owe their present...
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