Lecture 4, 6/5

Technology: A Brief History and Key Concepts
In today’s lecture, we will ask what constitutes technology. While development institutions frequently refer to technology and ICTs as an entity with generalized impact, we will spend our time in the course breaking down the concept. We will consider technology broadly as artifacts, systems, and as techniques. We will take a brief look at popular frameworks of understanding technologies and also discuss at greater length the idea of technological determinism.

Required readings
– Marx, L. 1997. “Technology: The Emergence of a Hazardous Concept” Social Research, Vol. 64, No. 3: 965-988.
– Winner, L. 1999. “Do Artifacts have Politics?” In D. Mackenzie and J. Wajcman (Eds.) The Social Shaping of Technology, pp. 28-40. Buckingham: Open University Press.
– Bijker, W. E. 2007. “Dikes and Dams, Thick with Politics.” Isis No. 98.
– Skim: Heilbroner, R. L. 1994. “Do Machines Make History?” In Merrit Roe Smith & Leo Marx (Eds) Does Technology Drive History?, pp. 53-65. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Background readings
– Bijker, W. 1997. “King of the Road: The Social Construction of the Safety Bicycle” in Bicycles, Bakelites and Bulbs. MA: MIT Press.
– World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), Geneva Declaration of Principles.