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Arnold Pacey

Arnold Pacey is an Associate Lecturer at the Open University, Britain. He is the author of The Culture of Technology (MIT Press, 1983), Technology and World Civilization (MIT Press, 1991), and The Maze of Ingenuity, second edition (MIT Press, 1992).

Titles by This Author

In Meaning in Technology, Arnold Pacey explores how an individual's sense of purpose and meaning in life can affect the shape and use of technology. He argues against reductionism in interpreting technology in a human context, and for acknowledgment of the role of the human experience of purpose when it helps to express meaning in technology.In the first part of the book, Pacey analyzes the direct experience of technology by individuals--engineers, mathematicians, craft workers, and consumers.

Ideas and Idealism in the Development of Technology

From cathedrals to star wars, Arnold Pacey looks at the interaction of technologies and society over the last thousand years and uses that survey to argue for a more humane form of future technological development. The second edition of The Maze of Ingenuity concentrates on Europe and North America and incorporates recent insights from the history and sociology of technology. A new series of chapters extends Pacey's discussion of the role of ideas and ideals in technology in the period since the industrial revolution.

A Thousand-Year History

Most general histories of technology are Eurocentrist, focusing on a main line of Western technology that stretches from the Greeks is through the computer. In this very different book, Arnold Pacey takes a global view, placing the development of technology squarely in a "world civilization." He portrays the process as a complex dialectic by which inventions borrowed from one culture are adopted to suit another.

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.