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SOC352: Block 2 Reading Outline
Fill in the blank word-for-word to complete the sentence. When you see “…” it means that
some sentences have been skipped over, but you do not need to fill those in. Please highlight,
bold, or underline your answers so that you are certain to receive credit for all of your
work! Don’t forget to place your name at the top of the page.
Your Instructor has highlighted in the Outlines those portions of the course textbook that are
most directly related to this course’s learning outcomes. However, please read the entire
textbook as it provides a very thorough discussion on the changes that occur through time
within a society.
Ways of Social Change (2nd Edition), Chapter 4: Technology, Science, and
Imagine for a moment that you can’t read. You look at shapes of thin black lines on a white
page and cannot comprehend the writer’s intention. You cannot decipher the figures’ meaning
to translate the lines on the page into images or ideas… What does the world look like with no
understanding of writing? In today’s world, 500 million adults are illiterate. Your social world,
fortunately, is literate. Writing is everywhere, and a high level of literacy is assumed. ______
govern public life. You cannot apply for a job. Besides, what work can you do if you can’t read
It might help to remind ourselves that for most of human history people did not read or write.
Imagine a world not too long ago, one in which only a small portion of the people are literate.
The elite communicated with each other through the written word, a very powerful tool of
domination and more efficient than brute strength. ___________________________________
__________________________________. This began to change when Johannes Gutenberg
first printed the Holy Bible in 1454. For the next hundred years the Bible’s increasing
availability became a stimulus to widespread literacy, allowing people to embrace their own
interpretation of a Bible they could now read. Varying interpretations of Christianity
proliferated, published in pamphlets that (along with mass-produced woodcuts) spread
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remarkably fast throughout Europe. Power was shifting and rapid social change was
________________________________ of antebellum America? Slave revolts and the anxiety
provoked by a growing movement to abolish slavery led to the enactment of even more laws to
suppress literacy. In the fifteen years before the Civil War, education for all persons of African
descent, free and slave, was prohibited in the Southern states. _________________________
____________________ and write. Illiteracy has contributed to their subjugation and the
denial of their rights. Is it any wonder that a target of the Taliban, Boko Haram, and other
violent group – bent on propagating a radically fundamentalist version of Islam – is schools
where girls are being educated?
The improved status and prospects for women are changing, driven by their increasing literacy.
In India, Kenya, and elsewhere, rising literacy among women is a major contributor to their
adoption of modern birth control methods and a precipitous decline in birth rates so important
to the improvement in their life chances. When people become literate they change their
lives… Supporters of education, given voice in 1850 by the social movement for universal
primary education in the United States, emphasized literacy and numeracy as critical to
democratic participation and a healthy economy. People worldwide have grasped the idea that
Technology looms across disciplines as _____________________________________________
_____________________ that explains everything. –Geoffery Herrera (2006: 3) Ancient China
invented and developed a wide array of devices and other technologies, later adopted in
Europe, that were critical for technology-driven social change in the West: the compass,
gunpowder, chain-driven transmissions, spinning and paddle wheels, iron suspension bridges,
printing, paper, and many more. This contrasts to Europe where “during the thousand year
period from the fourth to the fourteenth century, technique progressed little at all”. That was
to change dramatically __________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________. Much of
this was a consequence of the growth of science and its transformative application as
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Technology provides the markers for eras and periods expressed in the evolutionary social
systems perspective: the stone (tools) age, irrigation agriculture, the (smelting of) bronze age,
the iron (plow) age, steam (industrial age) power, the internal combustion engine, and digital
(information technology) age. These ______________________________________________
____________________________________________ of civilization… The twentieth century is
often thought of as the age in which technological democracy flourished. The _____________
personal lifestyle. It was not without a price, however, and _____________________________
_____________________________________________________________ as people across the
globe acquire and increase their capacity to participate in new technologies.
Technology is the _______________________________________________________________
________________________. In its simplest form, technology is “the application of knowledge
to the achievement of particular goals or to the solution of particular problems”. Technology is
understood in social science in three ways. First, _____________________________________
_____________________________________. We usually think of technology in this sense, as a
physical thing, a tool, instrument, machine, or device. But it is more than this. A second
meaning of ___________________________________________________________________
________________________________, such as communicating by written language, using a
method for growing crops, or the skill of building resonant violins based on well-kept secrets.
“Like science, culture, and art, technology is something we know, and technological change
should be regarded properly as a set of changes in our knowledge”. Finally, ________________
_________________________. Housing loans and mortgages are useful devices for allowing
people to simultaneously occupy a home and pay for it. The socket market, too, is a technology
facilitating the transfer of capital. As agents of change, ________________________________
Technology operates within a system that supports it – in its development, operation, and
Two people rarely see and use technology in exactly the same way, or even in the way
innovators and developers intended. A ___________________________________________
____________________________________ – that is, through their agency. This social
dimension of technology, that people have an uncanny knack for finding a use for something
that its originators did not intend, is part of its social dimension. As mentioned earlier, young
people has ideas about using the first personal computers far different from those of the
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electrical engineers, mathematicians, and military strategists who developed the computer.
Computer games and social networking were the furthest thing from these originators’ mind.
__________________________________________________, sometimes to their benefit,
sometimes to the benefit of others, and sometimes to no one’s benefit – an outcome obvious
only in hindsight.
It is important _________________________________________________________________
_________________________________, and ways of associating with one another. “We see
reciprocal, reinforcing relationships between technological change on the one hand and social
change on the other.” Technologies emerge in changing circumstances and ______________
________________________________________ – often commercial, sometimes military,
sometimes humanitarian – that are in a position to guide a technology’s development and
Compared with technology, science is a relatively new phenomenon. Human technologies have
existed at least since the first stone tools, musical instruments, and symbolic communication.
In the last several centuries, however, scientific inquiry has been a driving force for
technological innovation. Today, __________________________________________________
____________________… “If an idea begat a discovery, and if a discovery begat an invention,
then an innovation defined the lengthy and wholesale transformation of an idea into a
technological product (or process) meant for widespread practical use.” –Jon Gerntner… The
____________________________________, one of the most fundamental of human
processes.” –Everett Rogers.
“The majority of technological innovations are adopted by private business pursuing their
economic goals.” Economic interests, ______________________________________________
______________________. This has been the case in the United States for at least the past 140
years. Technology has ___________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________. The process of
economizing labor – getting the most productivity from a given amount of work – is enhances
by technology. This is what makes the investment in technology (as a device, know how, and
system) so important in the expansion and profitability of corporations.
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Modern corporations are increasingly focusing on sources of innovation and how to respond to
“disruptive innovations” – that is, innovative technology that threatens to give new competitors
an advantage over them. The difference between the twentieth-century Bell Labs and the
twenty-first century digital technology entrepreneur working alone or with a few others
couldn’t be more stark. Getting a great new idea (e.g., for a mobile app), developing it, and
finding a major corporation to buy it is assumed to be the way innovation is fostered today. A
longer view, however, shows that _________________________________________________
______________________________. The foundation for innovation has probably not changed
very much in several centuries. A creative environment that fosters a rich exchange of ideas is
most likely to lead to new discoveries – increasingly through collaborative scientific research –
that have the effect of changing the way people work and live.
“Every change requires effort, and the decision to make that effort is a social process… Human
interaction is the key force in overcoming resistance and speeding change.” – Atul Gawande…
The dystopian sentiment, shared by many reasonable people, is ________________________
_________________________________________________________ of health and a long life…
George Kateb observes that it is technology’s unknown and perhaps uncontrollable capacity for
change that is its most frightening quality. Not knowing the future that science and technology
seem eager to usher in is what makes Dr. Frankenstein’s experiment so scary.
The acceleration of social change, driven in the last two centuries by science and technological
innovation in the West, is now a worldwide phenomenon. _____________________________
___________________________________. Technology is a major influence on the direction
and scope of globalization now and in the future. Because technology is a major driver of social
change in poorer countries today, its transfer across international borders is a vital issue at the
center of the ongoing debate about globalization.
In an effort to improve people’s lives, government agencies, corporations, and nonprofit
organizations in affluent countries have encouraged poor people to use new technology.
____________. Borrowed and introduced technology is inevitable, as it has been for thousands
of years. The stories of missionaries bringing steel axes to indigenous people in Australia and
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the introduction of snowmobiles to Lapps in northern Finland are well-known and painful
reminders, however, of the influence inappropriate technology can have on peoples’ lives. In
today’s global economy, every corner of the world is open to digital communication and
commercial culture. The search for new markets sniffs out every possible household and
community as a potential customer. Industrial labor forces are being assembled in ever-poorer
and remote areas. The __________________________________________________________
_______________________________________ about their lives. The work tends to focus on
cleaner water and healthier, better-fed, and better-educated people with safer and more
productive work and more access to the wider world. Technology plays a major positive role in
making this happen. ____________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________ at best, and possibly much worse.
Appropriate technology is sustainable. It is __________________________________________
SOC352 Spring 2019
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