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Technologies and ‘Revolutions’ Transforming the means of production, consumption and regulation.

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Presentation on theme: "Technologies and ‘Revolutions’ Transforming the means of production, consumption and regulation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Technologies and ‘Revolutions’ Transforming the means of production, consumption and regulation

2 Lecture structure Defining technology Revolutions and transformations Analyses of technology:  Technology as enlightenment  Technological determinism  Technology as a dark evil  Control and mass deception Revolutionising leisure concepts Next week’s task

3 Technology: defining concepts Def: “application of the discoveries of science, or the scientific method, to the problems of man and his environment” (Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought)  Transformational  Contestation over nature and scope of transformational potential: Continuation and amplification vs break and rupture Rojek’s (1995) Modernity I, II and Postmodernity

4 Revolutions and Transformations Revolutions Pre-industrial/pre-modern: Industrial/modern: Post- industrial/postmodern: Transformations ‘Means of production’ (Marx, 1964) ‘Means of consumption’ (Ritzer, 1998) Means of regulation ry/

5 Technology as ‘enlightenment’ Enlightenment, Modernization, Modernism:  Intellectual, social and political changes  Belief in the ‘faculty of human reason and agency as the keys to unlocking, and bringing under the domain of a unified humanity, all the mysteries of the natural and social universe’ (Hancock and Tyler, 2001)  Key concepts - PROGRESS, EMANCIPATION and FREEDOM  Taming of the natural through the application of the rational tools of science and technology  Centrality given over to science, technology and the expansion of industrial capitalism within it; modernization across the Western world Remember: technology = progress, emancipation and freedom

6 Technological determinism An ‘affirmative’ modernist perspective (Cooper and Burrell, 1988):  Inevitability of social, political and cultural changes  Objectivity of society, neutrality of science and commitment to the promise of social progress through the harnessing of nature and the extension of technology (Hancock and Tyler, 2001)  Major changes in society the product of changes in tools/techniques  BUT technology not neutral – governed by social values and social interests State and capitalism drive technological ‘ progress ’ : ABC of technological advantage (Green, 2003: 9) Need to problematise ‘ interests ’ (e.g. commerce) driving technological innovation (i.e. software/hardware development and release)

7 Technology as a dark evil A critical modernist position (conspiracy theorists?):  Rejects the uncritical acceptance of science’s neutrality and association of reason (and technology) with progress and freedom:  The principles of science appropriated in order to dominate both the natural and human worlds:  Dystopia  Surveillance  Control  Exclusion  Science and technology produce ‘alienation’, ‘anomie’ and ‘de-humanisation’ in work and leisure contexts:

8 Control and mass deception Critical Theory analysis:  Adorno, Marcuse, Althusser: the ‘Frankfurt School’  Technology facilitates a uniform and debased ‘mass culture’, silencing criticism (Bottomore, 2002)  Dominant ‘technological rationality’ (Marcuse, 1964)  Nature dominated through science and technology – loss of humanness  Produces a mechanization of life  Technology enables ‘cultural industries’ to homogenise products and services and exploit consumers  Critical of the capitalist ‘beast’: Harnesses technology to enhance its production capabilities whilst further standardising consumption ‘choices’

9 Revolutionising leisure concepts/forms Leisure a thoroughly ‘modern’ concept revolutionised by technological innovation Technological ‘advance’ challenges concepts of leisure:  Work  Time and space  Activity  State of mind

10 Revolutionising leisure concepts Structure and agency: freedom and control  Technologies harnessed by global power elites to exacerbate control mechanisms and structuring factors:  BUT technologies also utilised to enhance human agency:  Choice

11 Indicative References Green, L (2003) Communication, Technology and Society, Sage (Chapter 1) Kumar, K (1978) Prophesy and Progress: The Sociology of Industrial and Post-Industrial Society, Harmondsworth Kumar, K (1995) From post- industrial to post-modern society: new theories of the contemporary world, Blackwell Roberts, K (2004) The Leisure Industries, Palgrave, Chapter 10 Marcuse, H (1964) One- Dimensional Man, Beacon Press Bottomore, T (2002) The Frankfurt School and its Critics, Routledge Bryce, J (2001) 'The Technological Transformation of Leisure', Social Science Computer Review, 19 (1): 7- 16 Cooper, G et al (2004) The Mobile Society, Berg MacKenzie, d & Wacjman, J (1999) The Social Shaping of Technology, Open University Press Hancock, P and Tyler, M (2001) Work, Postmodernism and Organization, Sage Bauman, Z (1989) Modernity and the Holocaust, Polity

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