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In this sweeping cultural history, James Flink provides a fascinating account of the creation of the world's first automobile culture. He offers both a critical survey of the development of automotive technology and the automotive industry and an analysis of the social effects of "automobility" on workers and consumers.

James J. Flink is an affiliate of the Institute of Transportation Studies and Professor of Comparative Culture at the University of California, Irvine.

A History of Individuals and Ideas

The succinct, nontechnical essays in Technology in America cover the history of American invention from Thomas Jefferson's founding of the Patent Office to Robert Goddards space-age rockets. Each treats an individual and a concept, highlighting the important role technological change has played in the evolution of American culture. The major themes include the effects of technology transfer, the development of the American system of manufacturing, the institutionalization of knowledge and scientific research, and technology as it social process.

This new edition adds chapters on Frederick Winslow, who originated the idea of scientific management; on Peter L. Jensen, whose invention of the loud speaker was a milestone in electronic communications; and on Frederick E. Terman, godfather of Silicon Valley and exemplar of the entrepreneurial spirit of the postwar computer industry.

Carroll W. Pursell, Jr., is Director of the Program in the History of Technology and Science at Case Western Reserve, University.

New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology

The impact of technology on society is clear and unmistakable. The influence of society on technology is more subtle. The 13 essays in this book draw on a wide array of case studies from cooking stoves to missile systems, from 15th­century Portugal to today's AI labs - to outline an original research program based on a synthesis of ideas from the social studies of science and the history of technology. Together they affirm the need for a study of technology that gives equal weight to technical, social, economic, and political questions.

The Culture of Technology examines our often conflicting attitudes toward nuclear weapons, biological technologies, pollution, Third World development, automation, social medicine, and industrial decline. It disputes the common idea that technology is "value-free" and shows that its development and use are conditioned by many factors-political and cultural as well as economic and scientific. Many examples from a variety of cultures are presented. These range from the impact of snowmobiles in North America to the use of water pumps in rural India, and from homemade toys in Africa to electricity generation in Britain-all showing how the complex interaction of many influences in every community affects technological practice.

The Dilemma of Technological Determinism

These thirteen essays explore a crucial historical question that has been notoriously hard to pin down: To what extent, and by what means, does a society's technology determine its political, social, economic, and cultural forms?Karl Marx launched the modern debate on determinism with his provocative remark that "the hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill, society with the industrial capitalist," and a classic article by Robert Heilbroner (reprinted here) renewed the debate within the context of the history of technology. This book clarifies the debate and carries it forward.Marx's position has become embedded in our culture, in the form of constant reminders as to how our fast-changing technologies will alter our lives. Yet historians who have looked closely at where technologies really come from generally support the proposition that technologies are not autonomous but are social products, susceptible to democratic controls. The issue is crucial for democratic theory. These essays tackle it head-on, offering a deep look at all the shadings of determinism and assessing determinist models in a wide variety of historical contexts.Contributors : Bruce Bimber. Richard W. Bulliet. Robert L. Heilbroner. Thomas P. Hughes. Leo Marx. Thomas J. Misa. Peter C. Perdue. Philip Scranton. Merritt Roe Smith. Michael L. Smith. John M. Staudenmaier. Rosalind Williams.

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