Sociology of Technology Essay

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Sociology

Document 1

In a particular statement in the book, Volti mentions that technologically progressive societies are different from any other societies because of the methods they use to solve their problems (Volti, 11). Such methods are unique in their orientation toward objectively scrutinizing the immediate challenges faced in such societies. Moreover, the writer mentions that technology has provided a systemic and empirically supported examination of potential solutions and a logical process of selecting solutions to such problems. However, Technology development does not always follow a logical linear path as suggested by Volti. There have been certain technologies that have been potentially designed to benefit particular social groups. Volti makes supported provisions on the connection between development, science and technology and how this relationship directly affects the development of new ideas, inventions and theories.

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Volti addresses the concerns of the contemporary labor force by having an in-depth analysis of how new technology can render obsolete certain skills while opening new job opportunities simultaneously (Volti). Another perspective that supports Volti’s statement on page 11 of his book is the history of life on the job. This concept is traced starting the formative days of managerial control within the factories to the era of Taylor’s Scientific Management and the modern white-collar job system that is also known as telecommuting (Volti). An outstanding illustration on this matter is on the chapters dealing with military technology. This implies that the development and production of various technologies, especially large-scale projects, have been the result of negotiations between different groups of people with different interests, observations as well as interpretations (Bijker, Hughes, and Trevor).

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These groups of people influence the development of various technologies. This is because such relevant social groups provide meaning and interpretation of these technologies and negotiate over their design in a process where every group sees different outcomes and objects. Upon the completion of the design process, the artefacts if not modified any further at this stage are said to have been stabilized. Consequently, the design and interpretive flexibility have collapsed through the closure mechanism. The moment the safety bicycle design received the support of the majority, its design achieved closure and thus both the meaning and design were stabilized. Moreover, the Bijker makes use of the development of the GE fluorescent lamp to provide insight on power for constructivists. In his explanation, he states that power as an explanandum has two aspects which are; either semiotic or micropolitical (Bijker, et al).

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  The semiotic perspective focuses on fixing the meaning of artifacts in particular way while the micropolitical focuses on the social interactions among the social groups within a technological framework (Bijker, et al).  Based on this, technology can be explained as a material incarnation of a specific configuration by those in power. Even then, the element of regulation would still imply that technology is still subject to social interests rather than a logical linear progressive process. References Bijker, Wiebe E.  Of bicycles, bakelites, and bulbs: Toward a theory of sociotechnical change. MIT press, 1997. Bijker, Wiebe E. "The evolution of large technological systems. " The social construction of technological systems: New directions in the sociology and history of technology 82 (1987). Volti, Rudi.  Society and technological change.

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