Does Technology Drive History?
The Dilemma of Technological Determinism
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Does Technology Drive History? by Merritt Roe Smith
Book DescriptionThese 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.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780262691673
(229mm x 152mm x 15mm)
Imprint: MIT Press
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Publish Date: 4-Jul-1994
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Merritt Roe Smith
Reconceptualizing the Industrial Revolution, Paperback (December 2010)
Closely linked essays examine distinctive national patterns of industrialization.
Harpers Ferry Armory and the New Technology, Paperback (April 1980)» View all books by Merritt Roe Smith
Focusing on the day-to-day operations of the U.S. armory at Harpers Ferry from 1798 to 1861, this book shows what the "new technology" of mechanized production meant in terms of organization, management, and worker morale.
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Author Biography - Merritt Roe Smith
Merritt Roe Smith is Cutten Professor of the History of Technology at MIT and the author or editor of six books, most recently Inventing America: A History of the United States. Leo Marx is Senior Lecturer and Kenan Professor of American Cultural History, Emeritus, at MIT.
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