Starting around 1900, technology became a lively subject for debate among intellectuals, writers, and other opinion leaders. The expansion of the machine into ever more areas of social and economic life had led to a need to interpret its meanings in a more comprehensive way than in the past. World War I and its aftermath shifted the terms of this ongoing debate by underlining both the potential dangers of technology and its centrality to modern life.
This book examines the broad range of social and intellectual responses to technology in the first four decades of this century, and suggests that these responses set the terms that continue to govern contemporary debates. Focusing on the broader contexts within which intellectual positions are formed, the book highlights the ways in which attitudes toward technology were shaped in a wide variety of national and organizational settings. A common theme is that, in debating technology, people drew on their distinctive national symbols and cultural traditions. By emphasizing the interplay between debates on technology and the making of modernity, the book challenges standard historical accounts of the early twentieth century.
Contributors: Ketil G. Andersen, Aant Elzinga, Tor Halvorsen, Mikael Hård, Kjetil Jakobsen, Andrew Jamison, Catharina Landström, Conny Mithander, Sissel Myklebust, Dick van Lente, Peter Wagner.