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A particular technology can be interpreted or studied in terms of two cultural dimensions: its social meanings and its cultural horizon. Both, the social meanings attached to a given technology and the cultural horizon in which it is embedded play an important role in technology design, development and use.

How much do you know about technology?

1. Which of the following statements is accurate of technology?

  1. Technology is always the product of rational technical imperatives.
  2. Technology is always designed by autonomous and objective experts.
  3. Technology always embodies various social and cultural meanings.
  4. Technology is always the product of applied science.

2. The cultural horizon of a given technology refers to:

  1. the technical and instrumental rationality of technology.
  2. the set of assumptions about social values that shape technology.
  3. the social representations and/or depictions of a given technology.
  4. the set of scientific values embedded in a given technology.

3. Which of the following concepts refer to the increasing tendency to use knowledge, especially scientific knowledge, in the context of interpersonal relationships, with the aim of achieving greater control of the world around them?

  1. Technology
  2. Rationalization
  3. Secularization
  4. Technocracy

4. To examine and fully understand technologies from other cultures sociologists must avoid

  1. cultural relativism
  2. ethnocentrism
  3. rationality
  4. refrlexivity

Expected learning outcomes

At the end of the learning module participants should be able to

1. define concepts such as technology, social meanings, cultural horizon, ethnocentrism, cultural relativism and rationalization.

2. recognize and demonstrate that technology is not simply the product of rational technical imperatives nor the making of autonomous, unbiased, impartial and objective experts.

3. distinguish between the cultural dimensions of technology, namely its social meanings and its cultural horizon.

4. recognize and demonstrate that different social agents or groups, often coming from different cultures, construe or assign different meanings to the very same technology.

5. recognize and demonstrate that any given technology embody, in the design itself, diverse social meanings and cultural assumptions about social values, worldviews, ideologies, discourses, beliefs, and social norms.

6. examine and evaluate technologies from the perspective of cultural relativism while avoiding ethnocentrism.

Introduction: technology and culture

In today’s world it has become increasingly important to raise awareness about the importance of intercultural dialogue, cultural diversity and social inclusion. Many people and organizations worldwide, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), have acknowledged the growing importance of building a world community of individuals not only devoted to support diversity with tangible and genuine practices and gestures but also to reject ethnocentrism, stereotypes, prejudices and discriminatory practices. In doing so, they stress the importance of valuing the quality, significance, and greatness of people and things from other cultures. A good example is the UNESCO 2001 Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. The declaration reaffirms “that culture should be regarded as the set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group, and that it encompasses, in addition to art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs.” It also notes that “culture is at the heart of contemporary debates about identity, social cohesion, and the development of a knowledge-based economy” and affirms that “respect for the diversity of cultures, tolerance, dialogue and cooperation, in a climate of mutual trust and understanding are among the best guarantees of international peace and security.” Hence, UNESCO aspires to “greater solidarity on the basis of recognition of cultural diversity, of awareness of the unity of humankind, and of the development of intercultural exchanges.” Put differently, UNESCO promotes the awareness and appreciation of world cultures. So does this learning module.

Questions & Answers

Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
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Source:  OpenStax, Civis project - uprm. OpenStax CNX. Nov 20, 2013 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11359/1.4
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