Technology and Social Complexity

By Maurice N. Richter

Subjects: Science And Society
Paperback : 9780873956451, 120 pages, June 1983
Hardcover : 9780873956444, 120 pages, June 1983

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Table of contents


1. Introduction

2. Technology and Its Forms
Technology Defined
Varieties of Technological Phenomena
Technology and Tradition

3. Society and Its Evolution
The Concept of Society
Social-Evolutionary Approaches
The Evolution of Modern Society

4. Directions of Technological Change
Premodern Technology
Aspects of Technological Modernization
Retention and Revival of Older Technological Forms

5. Variations in Technological Style: The Case of China

6. Technological Innovation
The Concept of Technological Innovation
Apsects of Technological Innovation
Conditions of Technological Innovation

7. Impacts of Technology
The Study of Impacts
The Conquest of Smallpox: A Case Study
Basic Problems in Technology Assessment
Problems in Cost-Benefit Analysis

8. Conclusion




Technology and Social Complexity explores the continuities between today's incredibly powerful new technology and the simpler technologies of the past. It shows that the diverse phenomena encompassed by the term "technology" can be analyzed coherently within the framework of the same concept.

This book provides a broad historical and comparative perspective within which the complex relationships between technology and society can be more clearly understood. Topics discussed include the concept of technology; social evolution and other forms of social change; characteristics of technology in societies of different types; and the sources, directions, and implications of technological progress.

Maurice N. Richter, Jr. is Associate Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at Albany.