April 19, 2010

Shock of the old

Technology seems to be synonymous with invention and innovation i.e. new things.  Focus is on the future, not on the now or the past.

History of technology-in-use is a global history.
History of innovation centres only on a few places [Western Europe, US - i.e. rich, white, male]

Objects in a use-based history come and go over the years, messing up our notions of "progress".  E.g. use of the horse by Nazis in WW2; return of the guillotine in 1940s, the bicycle that never disappeared or was replaced.   

"innovation" does not equal "progress" or "success".  Innovative nations of C20 are not necessarily the fastest growing.

David Edgerton.  The shock of the old.  Technology and global history since 1900.  London: Profile Books, 2006.

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