Meaning in Technology

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In Meaning in Technology, Arnold Pacey explores how an individual's sense of purpose and meaning in life can affect the shape and use of technology. He argues against reductionism in interpreting technology in a human context, and for acknowledgment of the role of the human experience of purpose when it helps to express meaning in technology.In the first part of the book,Pacey analyzes the direct experience of technology by individuals—engineers, mathematicians, craft workers, and consumers. In the second part, he examines the contexts in which technology is used,relating technology to nature and society. He explores our sense of place and of our relationship with nature, environmental concerns, gender, and creativity. He concludes with a discussion of the possibilities of a more people-centered technology.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Most of us associate technology with science and objectivity. Writing in a conversational style, Pacey refreshingly advocates the personal experience of technology as an essential part of the larger public meaning. Thus, he focuses on the affective side and on how technology "feels" to individuals who use it. Pacey examines music as a source of technology and relates visual thinking, tactile knowledge, and social meaning especially play to the development of technology. He also analyzes contexts, such as landscape and place, and frames ethical concerns related to gender bias and stimulating creativity. With many examples, Pacey makes a convincing case for technology that values people as well as their environment. This work extends and complements the concepts developed in Pacey's previous books, The Culture of Technology LJ 2/15/84, Technology in World Civilization LJ 3/1/91 and The Maze of Ingenuity MIT, 1992. With extensive references; recommended for academic and public libraries.--Laverna Saunders, Salem State Coll. Lib., MA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262661201
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2001
  • Pages: 274
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Arnold Pacey is an Associate Lecturer at the Open University,Britain. He is the author ofThe Culture of Technology (MITPress, 1983), Technology and WorldCivilization (MIT Press,1991), and The Maze of Ingenuity, second edition (MIT Press,1992).

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Dimensions of Experience 1
I The Practitioner's Experience: Visual and Musical Fundamentals
1 Music, Source of Technology? 17
2 Visual Thinking 39
3 Meaning in the Hands 59
4 Social Meanings 77
II Contexts of Technology: Nature, People, and Conflict
5 The Sense of Place 103
6 Exploration, Invention, and the Remaking of Nature 123
7 Gender and Creativity 147
8 Knowledge Pregnant with Evil 171
III Conclusion: The Missed Opportunity?
9 People-Centered Technology 201
Notes 223
Index 255
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