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Anthropology and Social Change

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Presentation on theme: "Anthropology and Social Change"— Presentation transcript:

1 Anthropology and Social Change
How Technological Change Impacts Human Evolution

2 Technology: An Agent of Social and Cultural Change

3 Definition Technology: The creation of tools or objects that
extend our natural abilities and later our social environment - Technology is an instrument of change (positive and/or negative)

4 Types of Technology Social: Human interaction/practices  Facebook
Biological: Related to living organisms and their functions  Genetic Engineering Physical: A change in the method of creating  Machines, Assembly Line Mere: Neutral (no +/- unless misused)  Escalator Transforming: Innovative, constantly changing  Computers, cell phones

5 Anthropological Theory of Social Change and the Role of Technology
Explanation Impact on Technology Anthropological Theory Change occurs gradually b/c societies thrive on stability Cultural change and adaptation are accompanied by diffusion and acculturation As societies interact, a process of cultural sharing occurs This often involves the sharing of technology Technology tends to destabilize society and forces society to find a new way to overcome instability

6 Traditional Anthropological Theory of Social Change
Societal change is initiated by an individual person who shares an idea with his or her community (if accepted, society changes to adapt to the new idea) Technology reflects our social values People determine how technology develops People prefer to see themselves as masters of their own destiny (not technology)

7 Anthropology Theory of Change: Technological Determinism
Defined as: “The view that social change is initiated by technology and not necessarily by the individual” This is contrary to what traditional theorists believe Technology has a much greater influence on us than we would like to admit Invention of a particular tool, such as a computer, takes on a life of its own after it has been introduced, with society reacting to the Society develops and adapt to the changes it creates

8 Diffusion 1500's— China produced most Technology
's— Europe leads world in Technological advances Yet many of these Technologies were the continuation of earlier advances in technology from China and elsewhere Sharing of Technology is not as simple as merely transplanting Technology from place to place Technologies shared between countries can be used for very different purposes China— Gun Powder— used medicinally for centuries— passed on to Europe (gunpowder is said to be anthelmintic and can cure sores and ringworms and keep away dampness and plague) Europe— within short time using it for cannons and firearms

9 Access to Technology Not all countries have equal resources (human and material) Even if Technologies can be transferred the results are not always desirable Pakistan— introduction of tractor— replaces worker— 40% unemployment rate Workers migrate to cities— dire poverty results— per acre crop yields hardly increased at all.

10 Equal use of Technologies can Have Devastating Impact
U.S. (pop. 290 million)-- one car/ 1.5 people China (pop. 1.5 billion)-- one car/ 500 people Technology of one country may not makes good economic sense for another country Poorer countries need Technologies that create human jobs, not replace human jobs Technologies are often chosen by small power groups that represent their interests rather than the interests of the country.


12 Theory Application – Case Study:
HOW HAS SOCIETY CHANGED SINCE WE BECAME SO ADDICTED AND RELIANT IN TECHNOLOGY – from an Anthropology perspective? Use the theory of Technological Determinism and the Documentary “Are we Digital Dummies?” in your answer. Documentary: “Are We Digital Dummies?”

13 Top 10 Inventions/Technologies that Changed the World
Make a list of around 10 Technological inventions that you think had a great impact on the world. Identify the change you think happened.

14 Cultural Lag Theory William Ogden believes that acceptance of a new technology follows a three-phase process Stage One: Invention – combining elements and materials to form new ones Stage Two: Discovery – discovering a new way of viewing reality Stage Three: Diffusion – the spread of a discovery from one area to another Here are the top 10 inventions. Explain how they relate to the Cultural Lag Theory. People who oppose new technologies are often called “luddites” after a secret society whose goal it was to destroy new textile machines during the early years of the Industrial Revolutionin a desperate attempt to preserve the skilled weavers’ way of life

15 10 Inventions/ Technologies that Changed the World
/innovation/inventions/10- inventions-that-changed-the- world.htm#page=9 10 Inventions/ Technologies that Changed the World

16 10 – The Plow Compared to some of the gleaming, electronic inventions that fill our lives today, the plow doesn't seem very exciting. It's a simple cutting tool used to carve a furrow into the soil, churning it up to expose nutrients and prepare it for planting. Yet the plow is probably the one invention that made all others possible. No one knows who invented the plow, or exactly when it came to be. It probably developed independently in a number of regions, and there is evidence of its use in prehistoric eras. Prior to the plow, humans were subsistence farmers or hunter/gatherers. Their lives were devoted solely to finding enough food to survive from one season to the next. Growing food added some stability to life, but doing it by hand was labor intensive and took a long time. The plow changed all that. Plows made the work easier and faster. Improvements in the plow's design made farming so efficient that people could harvest far more food than they needed to survive. They could trade the surplus for goods or services. And if you could get food by trading, then you could devote your day-to-day existence to something other than growing food, such as producing the goods and services that were suddenly in demand. The ability to trade and store materials drove the invention of written language, number systems, fortifications and militaries. As populations gathered to engage in these activities, cities grew. It's not a stretch to say that the plow is responsible for the creation of human civilization.

17 #9 - Wheel The wheel is another invention so ancient that we have no way of knowing who first developed it. The oldest wheel and axle mechanism we've found was near Ljubljana, Slovenia, and dates to roughly 3100 B.C. The wheel made the transportation of goods much faster and more efficient, especially when affixed to horse-drawn chariots and carts. However, if it had been used only for transportation, the wheel wouldn't have been as much of a world- changer as it was. In fact, a lack of quality roads limited its usefulness in this regard for thousands of years. A wheel can be used for a lot of things other than sticking them on a cart to carry grain, though. Tens of thousands of other inventions require wheels to function, from water engines, jet engines, power plants and countless others.

18 #8 – Printing Press Like many of the inventions on this list, the man we believe invented the printing press (Johann Gutenberg in the 1430s) actually improved on pre- existing technologies and made them useful and efficient enough to become popular. The world already had paper and block printing -- the Chinese had them as early as the 11th century -- but the complexity of their language limited popularity. Marco Polo brought the idea to Europe in 1295. Gutenberg combined the idea of block printing with a screw press (used for olive oil and wine production). He also developed metal printing blocks that were far more durable and easier to make than the hand-carved wooden letters in use previously. Finally, his advances in ink and paper production helped revolutionize the whole process of mass printing. The printing press allowed enormous quantities of information to be recorded and spread throughout the world. Books had previously been items only the extremely rich could afford, but mass production brought the price down tremendously. The printing press is probably responsible for many other inventions, but in a more subtle way than the wheel. The diffusion of knowledge it created gave billions of humans the education they needed to create their own inventions in the centuries since.

19 #7 - Refrigeration Refrigerators cool things down by taking advantage of the way substances absorb and unload heat as their pressure points and phases of matter change (usually from gas to liquid and back). It's difficult to pinpoint a single inventor of the refrigerator, because the concept was widely known and gradually improved over the course of about 200 years. Some credit Oliver Evans' 1805 unproduced design of a vapor-compression unit, while others point to Carl von Linde's 1876 design as the actual precursor of the modern refrigerator in your kitchen. Dozens of inventors, including Albert Einstein, would refine or improve refrigerator designs over the decades. In the early 20th century, harvested natural ice was still common, but large industries such as breweries were beginning to use ice-making machines. Harvested ice for industrial use was rare by World War 1. However, it wasn't until the development of safer refrigerant chemicals in the 1920s that home refrigerators became the norm. The ability to keep food cold for prolonged periods (and even during shipping, once refrigerated trucks were developed) drastically changed the food production industry and the eating habits of people around the world. Now, we have easy access to fresh meats and dairy products even in the hottest summer months, and we're no longer tied to the expense of harvesting and shipping natural ice -- which never could have kept pace with the world's growing population in any case.

20 #6 – Communication Technology
Maybe it's cheating to lump the telegraph, telephone, radio and television into one "invention," but the development of communication technology has been a continuum of increased utility and flexibility since Samuel Morse invented the electric telegraph in 1836 (building on the prior work of others, of course). The telephone simply refined the idea by allowing actual voice communications to be sent over copper wires, instead of just beeps that spelled out the plain text in Morse code. These communication methods were point-to-point, and required an extensive infrastructure of wires to function. Transmitting signals wirelessly using electromagnetic waves was a concept worked on by many inventors around the world, but Guglielmo Marconi and Nikola Tesla popularized it in the early 20th century. Eventually, sound could be transmitted wirelessly, while engineers gradually perfected the transmission of images. Radio and television were new landmarks in communications because they allowed a single broadcaster to send messages to thousands or even millions of recipients as long as they were equipped with receivers. These developments in communications technology effectively shrank the world. In the span of about 120 years, we went from a world where it might take weeks to hear news from across the country to one where we can watch events occurring on the other side of the globe as they happen. The advent of mass communications put more information within our grasp and altered how we interact with each other. #6 – Communication Technology

21 #5 – Steam Engine Prior to the invention of the steam engine, most products were made by hand. Waterwheels and draft animals provided the only "industrial" power available, which clearly had its limits. The Industrial Revolution, which is perhaps the greatest change over the shortest period of time in the history of civilization, was carried forward by the steam engine. The concept of using steam to power machines had been around for thousands of years, but Thomas Newcomen's creation in 1712 was the first to harness that power for useful work (pumping water out of mines, for the most part). In 1769, James Watt modified a Newcomen engine by adding a separate condenser, which vastly increased the steam engine's power and made it a far more practical way to do work. He also developed a way for the engine to produce rotary motion, which may be just as important as the efficiency gains. Thus, Watt is often considered the inventor of the steam engine. While the steam engine has been eclipsed by electric and internal combustion engines in the areas of transport and factory power, they're still incredibly important. Most power plants in the world actually generate electricity using steam turbines, whether the steam is heated by burning coal, natural gas or a nuclear reactor.

22 #4 – The Automobile The automobile mobilized people. While ideas for personal vehicles had been around for years, Karl Benz's 1885 Motorwagen, powered by an internal combustion engine of his own design, is widely considered the first automobile. Henry Ford's improvements in the production process -- and effective marketing -- brought the price and the desire for owning an auto into the reach of most Americans. Europe soon followed. The automobile's effect on commerce, society and culture is hard to overestimate. Most of us can jump in our car and go wherever we want whenever we want, effectively expanding the size of any community to the distance we're willing to drive to shop or visit friends. Our cities are largely designed and built around automobile access, with paved roads and parking lots taking up huge amounts of space and a big chunk of our governments' budgets. The auto industry has fueled enormous economic growth worldwide, but it's also generated a lot of pollution.

23 #3 - Light bulb Every invention is built by incrementally improving earlier designs, and the person usually associated with an invention is the first person to make it commercially viable. Such is the case with the light bulb. The bulb itself works by transmitting electricity through a wire with high resistance known as a filament. The waste energy created by the resistance is expelled as heat and light. The glass bulb encases the filament in a vacuum or in inert gas, preventing combustion. You might think the light bulb changed the world by allowing people to work at night or in dark places (it did, to some extent), but we already had relatively cheap and efficient gas lamps and other light sources at the time. It was actually the infrastructure that was built to provide electricity to every home and business that changed the world. Today, our world is filled with powered devices than we can plug in pretty much anywhere. We have the light bulb to thank for it.

24 #2

25 Computer A computer is a machine that takes information in, is able to manipulate it in some way, and outputs new information. There is no single inventor of the modern computer, although the ideas of British mathematician Alan Turing are considered eminently influential in the field of computing. Mechanical computing devices were in existence in the 1800s (there were even rare devices that could be considered computers in ancient eras), but electronic computers were invented in the 20th century. Computers are able to make complicated mathematical calculations at an incredible rate of speed. When they operate under the instructions of skilled programmers, computers can accomplish amazing feats. Some high- performance military aircraft wouldn't be able to fly without constant computerized adjustments to flight control surfaces. Computers performed the sequencing of the human genome, let us put spacecraft into orbit, control medical testing equipment, and create the complex visual imagery used in films and video games. If we only examine these grandiose uses of computers, we overlook how much we rely on them from day to day. Computers let us store vast amounts of information and retrieve a given piece of it almost instantly. Many of the things we take for granted in the world wouldn't function without computers, from cars to power plants to phones.

26 1. Internet The Internet is such a powerful invention that we've probably only begun to see the effects it will have on the world. The ability to diffuse and recombine information with such efficiency could accelerate the rate at which further world-changing inventions are created. At the same time, some fear that our ability to communicate, work, play and do business via the Internet breaks down our ties to local communities and causes us to become socially isolated. Like any invention, the good or ill it accomplishes will come from how we choose to use it.

27 Keeping up with the speed of technological change:
Alvin Toffler – people need to learn to control rate of change to avoid “adaptational breakdown” Future Shock – disorientation brought on by technological advancement, creating a sense that the future has arrived prematurely Stephen Bertman – technological change occurring so fast that values in society are being blurred Hyperculture – reflects the staggering rate of change in societies – results in deterioration of the family


29 Psychology Perspective - Overdependence on Technology:
Many people feel stressed due to their dependence on technology Technostress – a reliance on technology that results in high anxiety when it not working properly us-class-action Technosis – an overblown attachment to or dependency on technology – you feel out of touch without it – dependency on technology can cause phobias and addictions

30 Coping with Technological Change
While we are for the most part eager to accept and use new technological advancements we have to be aware of the negative consequences of these technological advancements Internet has allowed many people to access useful information but has also allowed easy access to porn sites, hate sites and other dangerous sites on the web that parents don’t want their children seeing Read the article you were given - on the topic of technological change. Be prepared to share the main idea of your article and how it related to our study of Anthropology and Social Change.

31 Impact of Technology in the Home:
Info-mated households: homes with at least five information technologies (including fax machines, TVs, computers, and cell phones) Three trends in info-mated households: Spend a lot of time thinking about their paid jobs – even when not working Bring a lot of work home Many parents approach their family life from a work perspective – task oriented roles in the household

32 Connected, but alone? As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? Sherry Turkle studies how our devices and online personas are redefining human connection and communication -- and asks us to think deeply about the new kinds of connection we want to have. She studies how technology is shaping our modern relationships: with others, with ourselves, with it. Explain how the Evolution of Technology has changed her opinion – from a celebration of technology to the dangers of technologies (related to cell phones) Explain how this relates to our study of Anthropology?

33 Technology and The child-driven education
Education scientist Sugata Mitra tackles one of the greatest problems of education -- the best teachers and schools don't exist where they're needed most. In a series of real-life experiments from New Delhi to South Africa to Italy, he gave kids self-supervised access to the web and saw results that could revolutionize how we think about teaching. Sugata Mitra's "Hole in the Wall" experiments have shown that, in the absence of supervision or formal teaching, children can teach themselves and each other, if they're motivated by curiosity and peer interest. Explain how this relates to our study of Anthropology?

34 Surviving :) The Teenage Brain
teenage-brain.html Describe the research and perspective that each of the following social scientists present in this documentary related to how technology is changing adolescence: Dr. Jay Giedd - neurologist, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) neurologist Dr. David Bainbridge – evolutionary biologist, Cambridge Dr. Stan Kutcher - author of Teenagers: A Natural History and adolescent mental health expert Dr. Helen Fisher - biological anthropologist Don Tapscott - innovation and technology expert, author of Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing the World

35 Anthropology, Technology, Human Evolution
Read the article you were given - on the topic of technological change. Be prepared to share the main idea of your article and how it related to our study of Anthropology and Social Change.

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