- Study of technology-society relationship focuses on innovation (i.e. emergence of new technologies). It does not focus on study of everyday technologies (i.e. old, outmoded, obsolete technologies) which are in use.
- Histories of technology-in-use (old) and histories of innovation (new) differ re. Geography – Chronology – Sociology
- Conflation of innovation-technology is obvious in national histories. BUT – nation-state is not a microcosm for the whole world.
- It is difficult to engage general history with history of technology when most studies of technology focus on innovation only. However, studying general historical problems has produced histories of technology-in-use.
- “Technological Determinism” says that technologies in use determine a society. Sometimes this is perverted into “technical innovation determines social change.”
- “Technological Determinism” is a theory of society, not a theory of technology.
- The importance of a technology can’t be determined only by its pervasiveness. We must always look at alternatives.
- Invention and innovation rarely lead to use, rather, vice versa.
- Don’t confuse changes in knowledge with knowledge-in-use. Doing lots of research doesn’t mean a country has technical capabilities. Knowing and creating are two separate entities – a growth in one does not necessarily entail a growth in the latter.
- “Innovation-centred and knowledge-centred accounts of technology are central to twentieth century culture.” Governments’ policies on science and technology focus on innovation, not all science and technology. Data re. innovation (e.g. statistics on R&D) are great but not so data on diffusion and use. Here technique-in-use is not ‘technology’ but common phones, cars, aeroplanes, electricity, etc.
April 19, 2010
Edgerton - ten eclectic theses
Innovation and technology have been conflated. Distinction should be made and emphasis placed on use, not innovation.