Sociology of Technology

Sociology of Technology

Cross, Gary and Szostak.Rice. (2005). Technology and American Society: A History. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Chapter 15 – Innovation, the Great Depression, and the Automobile, 1918 – 40

1.    What is the question that is this chapter’s focus?

2.    What is technological innovation and know some examples.

3.    Know the term “technological unemployment” and how it was used.

4.    Know examples of how technological and organizational changes increased     productivity.

5.    Know the main points of the technocracy movement  (scientific management).

6.    Know why technology was problematic to Americans by the 1930’s and why the     automobile was not the economic and social panacea many expected.

7.    What were the supportive technologies and institutions supporting the automobile industry.

8.    Be familiar with the innovations of these supportive technologies and institutions.

9.    Why was General Motors considered a “model of diversity” and why was     Sloanism not challenged until the 1970’s?

Chapter 16 – Mechanizing Sight and Sound

1.    What is “the mass production of culture”?

2.    What role did the phonograph play in sharing musical styles between class and     ethnic groups?

3.    What were the technical innovations of George Eastman that changed     photography and how photography was viewed by the public. (Think, Simon and     Garfunklel …“Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away”!)

4.    What were the innovations in the movie industry?

5.    What were the innovations of the radio?

6.    What were the innovations of television?

Chapter 17 – Technology and the Origins of Mass Culture

1.    Define Mass Culture.

2.    What is the “automobile culture” and how did it revolutionize time and space in     America?

3.    What was the impact of mass-produced sights and sounds (movies) on American     culture?

4.    What was the “Production Code” of the 1930’s?  (see lecture notes as well)

5.    What is a “commercialized entertainment technology”?

6.    What are “prime-time families”?

7.    What were the evaluations of the cultural impact of Television?

Chapter 18 – Airplanes and Atoms in Peace and War

1.    What was the role of government in scientific research?

2.    What is the revolution in personal transport?

3.    What is the difference between jet and piston engines?

4.    How were bombs used in World War II?

5.    Know why the development of the Atomic bomb ended one war but began     another.

6.    Why were people building bomb shelters in the 1950’s?

Chapter 19 – The Postwar Advance of Technology

1.    How were farms and mines industrialized?

2.    How did the transistor revolutionize the electronic industry?

Chapter 20 – Our Computer Age

1.    What is the new debate about computers and technology?

Chapter 21 – Modern Americans in a Technological World

1.    What are ‘technocritics’ and ‘futurologists’?

2.    What is the interaction between technology, jobs and the postwar economy?

3.    What are the technological forecasts past and present?


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