Jacques Ellul: The Technological Society (1954/1964)

11 August 2012, dusan

As insightful and wise today as it was when originally published in 1954, Jacques Ellul’s The Technological Society has become a classic in its field, laying the groundwork for all other studies of technology and society that have followed. Ellul offers a penetrating analysis of our technological civilization, showing how technology–which began innocuously enough as a servant of humankind–threatens to overthrow humanity itself in its ongoing creation of an environment that meets its own ends. No conversation about the dangers of technology and its unavoidable effects on society can begin without a careful reading of this book.

Originally published in French as La technique ou l’enjeu du siècle by Librairie Armand Colin, 1954.
Translated by John Wilkinson
With an introduction by Robert K. Merton
Publisher Vintage Books, a divisio of Random House, New York, 1964
449 pages

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Langdon Winner: Autonomous Technology: Technics-out-of-Control as a Theme in Political Thought (1978)

10 February 2012, dusan

“The truth of the matter is that our deficiency does not lie in the want of well-verified ‘facts’. What we lack is our bearings. The contemporary experience of things technological has repeatedly confounded our vision, our expectations, and our capacity to make intelligent judgments. Categories, arguments, conclusions, and choices that would have been entirely obvious in earlier times are obvious no longer. Patterns of perceptive thinking that were entirely reliable in the past now lead us systematically astray. Many of our standard conceptions of technology reveal a disorientation that borders on dissociation from reality. And as long as we lack the ability to make our situation intelligible, all of the “data” in the world will make no difference.” (From the Introduction)

Publisher MIT Press, 1978
ISBN 0262730499, 9780262730495
396 pages

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PDF (updated on 2012-7-15)

Theodore Roszak: The Making of a Counter Culture: Reflections on the Technocratic Society and Its Youthful Opposition (1969)

5 June 2010, dusan

When it was published, this book captured a huge audience of Vietnam War protesters, dropouts, and rebels – and their baffled elders. Theodore Roszak found common ground between 1960s student radicals and hippie dropouts in their mutual rejection of what he calls the technocracy – the regime of corporate and technological expertise that dominates industrial society. He traces the intellectual underpinnings of the two groups in the writings of Herbert Marcuse and Norman O. Brown, Allen Ginsberg and Paul Goodman. Alan Watts wrote of The Making of a Counter Culture in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1969, “If you want to know what is happening among your intelligent and mysteriously rebellious children, this is the book. The generation gap, the student uproar, the New Left, the beats and hippies, the psychedelic movement, rock music, the revival of occultism and mysticism, the protest against our involvement in Vietnam, and the seemingly odd reluctance of the young to buy the affluent technological society – all these matters are here discussed, with sympathy and constructive criticism, by a most articulate, wise, and humane historian.”

Publisher Anchor Books, Doubleday, New York, 1969
303 pages

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The Making of a Counter Culture (English)
El nacimiento de una contracultura (Spanish, trans. Angel Abad, 1970/1981, added on 2013-7-2)