This book questions whether technologies are the rational, tangible, scientific, forward-thinking, neutral objects they are so often perceived to be, exploring instead how powerful, mythic ideas about technologies drive our social understanding and our expectations of them. Against a rising tide of information, we encounter significant technological, scientific, and medical advances which promise to create an educated, humane, and equal world. This book explores that promise, deconstructing technologies to conclude that though they do afford us significant and empowering advances, they remain largely cloaked in mystery, and often promise more than they can deliver. Contributors from diverse intellectual backgrounds and political and epistemological stances - spanning sociology and psychosocial investigations, innovation studies, and scientists - combine philosophical inquiry and empirical case studies to create a book which is at once provocative, innovative, and exciting in the challenges it poses.
The Editors: Judith Burnett is Associate Dean in the School of Social Sciences at the University of East London. Her research explores social change, particularly in the area of lifecourse, cohorts, and generations. She has published in the area of generations and social theory, and the emergence of thirty-something as an age based identity and generational experience. Peter Senker is Visiting Professor at the University of East London. He initiated and co-edited the book Technology and In/Equality: Questioning the Information Society. He has published widely including (with Rodrigo Arocena) `Technology, Inequality and Underdevelopment: The Case of Latin America' in the Journal of Science, Technology and Human Values. Kathy Walker is Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications at the University of East London. Her research interests include the development of new communication technologies, media policy and regulation, and public service broadcasting. She has published in these areas.
Contents: Wiebe E. Bijker: Foreword - Judith Burnett/Peter Senker/Kathy Walker: Introduction - Alvaro de Miranda: Technological Determinism and Ideology: Questioning the `Information Society' and the `Digital Divide' - Richard Sharpe: Inequalities in the Globalised Knowledge-Based Economy - Bernard Kahane: Old Wine in New Bottles: How New Technology Recycles Old Myths - Richard Sharpe: Brains, Generations and One Last Push: Myths Used to Establish and Sustain the Computer Industry - Linda Stepulevage: ERP in Higher Education: The Reinforcement of Myths - Kathy Walker: Reality Check: Interactivity, Reality Television and Empowerment - Delia Langstone: Myths, Crimes and Videotape - Erika Cudworth: Nature, Culture, Technology: Myths and Inequalities in the Posthuman Zoo - Mark Davis/Paul Flowers: Myth and HIV Medical Technologies: Perspectives from the `Transitions in HIV' Project - Paul Nightingale/Paul Martin: The Myth of the Biotech Revolution - Peter Senker/Joanna Chataway: The Myths of Agricultural Biotechnology - Judith Burnett/Peter Senker/Kathy Walker: Epilogue.