Against Technology: From the Luddities to Neo-Luddism

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Overview

This book addresses the question of what it might mean today to be a Luddite—that is, to take a stand against technology. Steven Jones here explains the history of the Luddites, British textile works who, from around 1811, proclaimed themselves followers of "Ned Ludd" and smashed machinery they saw as threatening their trade. Against Technology is not a history of the Luddites, but a history of an idea: how the activities of a group of British workers in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire came to stand for a global anti-technology philosophy, and how an anonymous collective movement came to be identified with an individualistic personal conviction. Angry textile workers in the early nineteenth century became romantic symbols of a desire for a simple life—certainly not the original goal of the actions for which they became famous. Against Technology is, in other words, a book about representations, about the image and the myth of the Luddites and how that myth was transformed over time into modern neo-Luddism.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In Against Technology, Jones has opened up a rich field of study that cries out for more examination. The unintended consequences of technology, such as global warming, should not be seen as a call to retreat to a simpler time." - Robert L. Park, Physics Today

'The book is accessibly written and well informed, with technology discussions avoiding naivete and literary analyses resisting theoretical quagmires. As such, it appeals not only to general readers but scholars from a variety of disciplines.' - International Journal of Communication

"Against Technology critically interrogates the supposed continuity between neo-Luddism and its alleged precursor, the original Luddite movement of 1811-16. Along the way, the book provides fascinating insights into the development of this unruly working-class movement and demonstrates its continuing relevance to twenty-first-century culture. Against Technology is a magisterial scholarly work of compelling interest to readers of British Romantic literature." -James McKusick, The Wordsworth Circle

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415978682
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 3/1/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,333,583
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven E. Jones is Professor of English at Loyola University, Chicago. He is author of Satire and Romanticism and editor of The Satiric Eye.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 The boom, the bust, and neo-Luddites in the 1990s 19
Ch. 2 The mythic history of the original Luddites 45
Ch. 3 Romanticizing the Luddites 77
Ch. 4 Frankenstein and the monster of technology 105
Ch. 5 Novelizing the Luddites 137
Ch. 6 Counterculture and countercomputer in the 1960s 173
Ch. 7 Ned Ludd in the age of terror 211
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