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Week2 (STSP)

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The State, Technology & Social Policy (Week 2)

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Week2 (STSP)

  1. 1. The State, Technology & Social Policy Week 2 - Introduction
  2. 2. Session Overview <ul><li>Introductions </li></ul><ul><li>Module Content </li></ul><ul><li>Lecture </li></ul><ul><li>Practical Session </li></ul>
  3. 3. Module Format <ul><li>Lectures </li></ul><ul><ul><li>discussion/interaction </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Seminar Presentations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>two per week </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Virtual Seminar </li></ul><ul><ul><li>week 2 to 8 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>weekly summary/discussion in class </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>week 9 off in lieu of face-to-face work </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Module Format <ul><li>Technology Think Tank </li></ul><ul><ul><li>small groups work on policy issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>agenda set by virtual seminar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>brief report (2-4 pages) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>present at conference </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. End of Module Conference (King’s Manor) 10 Think Tank Preparations Cyberspace 9 Technology & Social Divisions 4: Risk and Online Communities A/EW/105 8 Technology & Social Divisions 3: Cybercrime A/EW/105 7 Technology & Social Divisions 2: Surveillance and Social Sorting A/EW/105 6 Technology & Social Divisions 1: Is There a Digital Divide? A/EW/105 5 Technology & Society 3: Are ICTs Changing the Nature of Government? A/EW/105 4 Technology & Society 2: Are ICTs Transforming Contemporary Society? A/EW/105 3 Virtual Seminar Technology & Society 1: Do We Control Technology or Does It Control Us? A/EW/105 2 Topic Location Wk
  6. 6. Core Reading <ul><li>Diverse topics – no single text </li></ul><ul><li>Lengthy reading list </li></ul><ul><li>Module web site – ‘virtual reader’ </li></ul><ul><li>Electronic sources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>academic journals – new research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>news media – contemporary debates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>think tanks – new policy thinking </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Allocation of Work Tasks <ul><li>Seminar Presenters </li></ul><ul><li>Weekly Virtual Seminar Leaders </li></ul>
  8. 8. Technology and Society I Do we control technology or does it control us?
  9. 9. Session Objectives <ul><li>explore issues about the ‘power’ of technology </li></ul><ul><li>explore issues around the ‘control’ of technology </li></ul><ul><li>to ask ‘do we control technology or does it control us?’ </li></ul>
  10. 10. The ‘Power’ of Technology <ul><li>The ‘power’ of technology is a long standing conundrum in social sciences </li></ul><ul><li>Some (e.g. Dowding) argue that inanimate objects cannot have power </li></ul><ul><li>BUT: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>existence of technology makes a difference </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pandora’s Box type effect </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Irrespective of issue of power a question of control is important </li></ul>
  11. 11. The Luddites <ul><li>Who were they? </li></ul><ul><li>Early working class movement (1812) </li></ul><ul><li>Industrial Revolution – textile industry </li></ul><ul><li>Notts, Lancs, Yorks </li></ul><ul><li>Resisted specific technological deployments </li></ul><ul><li>Destroyed machines threatening trades </li></ul>
  12. 12. The Luddites <ul><li>Chant no more your old rhymes about bold Robin Hood His feats I but little admire I will sing the achievements of General Ludd Now the Hero of Nottinghamshire </li></ul><ul><li>The guilty may fear, but no vengeance he aims At honest man's life or Estate His wrath is entirely confined to wide frames And to those that old prices abate </li></ul>
  13. 13. The Luddites <ul><li>‘ All these demands looked forwards, as much as backwards; and they contained within them a shadowy image… of a democratic community, in which industrial growth should be regulated according to ethical priorities and the pursuit of profit be subordinated to human needs’ </li></ul><ul><li>EP Thompson </li></ul>
  14. 14. The Luddites <ul><li>Ended on the scaffold </li></ul><ul><li>Defeat inevitable? </li></ul><ul><li>Crushed by technology or state? </li></ul><ul><li>Any human agency? </li></ul>
  15. 15. Technology out-of-control <ul><li>Frankenstein’s Monster </li></ul><ul><ul><li>human invention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>improve Frankenstein’s life </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>develops life of its own </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>master or servant? </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Autonomous Technology <ul><li>Winner: Autonomous Technology </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Technology out of control </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Humans have no choice of direction of change </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Frakenstein’s monster </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>“ the belief that somehow technology has gotten out of control and follows its own course independent of human direction” (Winner). </li></ul><ul><li>“ a relentless and constant pressure for change [that] affords no opportunity to decide how” (Street 1992). </li></ul>
  17. 17. Autonomous Technology <ul><li>Claims technological development has its own logic </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Doesn’t matter who works on projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Simultaneous inventions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>human values over-ridden by logic </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Argues technological solutions always triumph </li></ul>
  18. 18. Autonomous Technology <ul><li>Has distopian overtones: </li></ul><ul><li>‘ all protest is senseless, and the individual who would insist on freedom would become a crank. There is no personal escape from the apparatus which has mechanised and standardised the world. It is a rational apparatus, combining utmost expediency with utmost convenience, saving time and energy, removing waste, adapting all means to ends...’ (Marcuse). </li></ul>
  19. 19. Technological Determinism <ul><li>A moderate ‘cousin’ </li></ul><ul><li>Sees technology as a key driver of change </li></ul><ul><li>‘makes no particular claims about the ideological rationale provided by technology or about the extent of its impact’ (Street). </li></ul>
  20. 20. Technological Determinism <ul><li>Argues technology poses ‘questions’ for society </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>people can choose to resist change </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>resistance will lead to disadvantage </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hobson’s choice </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>More positive outlook than autonomous technology </li></ul>
  21. 21. Technological Determinism <ul><li>Hard & Soft views of determinism </li></ul><ul><li>Hard view discredited? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ not a good candidate as a theory of social change’ MacKenzie and Wajcman (1999: 4) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Causes of change are complex rather than direct </li></ul>
  22. 22. Social Shaping of Technology <ul><li>Generally accepted that technological change is socially shaped </li></ul><ul><li>Human decisions impact on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>direction of development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>nature of deployment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>who has access </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Technology itself is only one variable </li></ul>
  23. 23. Social Shaping of Technology <ul><li>POLITICS </li></ul><ul><li>military technology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>nuclear weapons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>chemical weapons </li></ul></ul><ul><li>ICTs in government </li></ul><ul><ul><li>policy networks resist change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>social security officials v medics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>nurses v doctors </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Social Shaping of Technology <ul><li>ECONOMICS & BUSINESS </li></ul><ul><li>information technology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Microsoft </li></ul></ul><ul><li>music and video technology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Betamax video </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>control of supply chain </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Social Shaping of Technology <ul><li>SOCIAL RELATIONS </li></ul><ul><li>reproductive technologies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>male dominance of medical profession </li></ul></ul><ul><li>built environment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>bridges in Florida </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Technological Determinism <ul><li>Soft view still popular </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Complexity of social change does not rule out technology as key driver of change </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mobile phones </li></ul><ul><li>Cars </li></ul><ul><li>Winner: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Somnambulism </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Methodological Issue <ul><li>Difficulty of distinguishing cause & effect </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Methodological Luddism </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Complex – many factors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>more than one social factor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>technology can make a difference </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Actor-Network Theory <ul><li>re-promotes technology as a key variable </li></ul><ul><li>accepts social relations impact on technology... </li></ul><ul><li>...vice-versa also true </li></ul>
  29. 29. Actor-Network Theory <ul><li>humans and technologies have impact </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘actors’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘principle of symmetry’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>connected together in ‘networks’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>shape, constrain, enable action </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. Actor-Network Theory <ul><li>‘ it is mistaken to think of technology and society as separate spheres influencing each other: technology and society are mutually constitutive’ </li></ul><ul><li>(MacKenzie and Wajcman ) </li></ul>
  31. 31. Actor-Network Theory <ul><li>Cars </li></ul><ul><li>Information Technology </li></ul>
  32. 32. Conclusion: Complex Interactions <ul><li>Complex process of continuous interactions </li></ul><ul><li>Giddens: Structuration Theory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Agents shape structures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Structures shape agents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reflex, iterative process </li></ul></ul><ul><li>No different from any social change? </li></ul>
  33. 33. Conclusion: Complex Interactions <ul><li>Distinguishing cause and effect is difficult </li></ul><ul><li>Truth is complex </li></ul><ul><li>Answer to original question? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>we have choices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>we have power </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>power unevenly distributed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>technological change can impact on power </li></ul></ul>
  34. 34. Finally... <ul><li>Practical Workshop </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Virtual Seminar Set-Up & Training </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Coffee Break First </li></ul><ul><li>Meet in D/114 at 15.15 </li></ul>

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