The social shaping of technology

The social shaping of technology

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  • Date Submitted: 07/23/2013 10:08 PM
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Donald MacKenzie and Judy Wajcman

Introductory essay: the social shaping of technology
Book section
Original citation: Originally published in MacKenzie, Donald and Wajcman, Judy, eds. (1999) The social shaping of technology. 2nd ed., Open University Press, Buckingham, UK. ISBN 9780335199136

© 1999 Donald MacKenzie and Judy Wajcman This version available at: Available in LSE Research Online: August 2012

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Technology is a vitally important aspect of the human condition. Technologies feed, clothe, and provide shelter for us; they transport, entertain, and heal us; they provide the bases of wealth and of leisure; they also pollute and kill. For good or ill, they are woven inextricably into the fabric of our lives, from birth to death, at home, in school, in paid work. Rich or poor, employed or nonemployed, woman or man, ‘black’ or ‘white’, north or south - all of our lives are intertwined with technologies, from simple tools to large technical systems. When this intertwining is discussed in newspapers or other mass media, the dominant account of it can summed up as ‘technological determinism’. Technologies change,...

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