If asked, most people would agree that there are deep connections between technology and the modern world, and even that technology is the truly distinctive feature of modernity. Until recently, however, there has been surprisingly little overlap between technology studies and modernity theory. The goal of this ambitious book is to lay the foundations for a new interdisciplinary field by closely examining the co-construction of technology and modernity.
The book is divided into three parts. Part I lays the methodological groundwork for combining studies of technology and modernity, while integrating ideas drawn from feminism, critical theory, philosophy, sociology, and socioeconomics. Part II continues the methodological discussion, focusing on specific sociotechnical systems or technologies with prominent relations to modernity. Part III introduces practical and political issues by considering alternative modes of technology development and offering critiques of modern medicine, environmental technology, international development, and technology policy. The book as a whole suggests a broad research program that is both academic and applied and that will help us understand how contemporary societies can govern technologies instead of being governed by them.
About the Editors
Thomas J. Misa is ERA-Land Grant Professor of the History of Technology at the University of Minnesota, where he directs the Charles Babbage Institute. His books include Modernity and Technology (coedited with Philip Brey and Andrew Feenberg; MIT Press, 2003).
Philip Brey is Associate Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Twente, the Netherlands.
Andrew Feenberg is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Technology at the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University. He is the author of Critical Theory of Technology, Alternative Modernity, Questioning Technology, Transforming Technology, and Heidegger and Marcuse.
"An interesting and well-integrated collection...", Peter Beech, First Monday
"Modernity and Technology is an exemplar of innovative, multidisciplinary scholarship. The book is bold yet accessible, and it takes on the big questions at the heart of both modernity theory and technology studies. The mix of social theory and empirical research makes it the most important contribution to technology studies of the past fifteen years."
—Eric Schatzberg, Associate Professor, Department of the History of Science, University of Wisconsin—Madison
"Anyone puzzled by the manifest but imperfectly understood relationship between the accelerating rate of technological innovation and the distinctive character of 'modernity' is bound to learn from this timely book—and especially from its more puzzled contributors."
—Leo Marx, Program in Science, Technology, and Society, Massachusetts Institute of Technology