Unformatted text preview: SOCIOLOGY 415: Technology and Society
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Fall 2010 Textbook:
Volti, Rudi. 2009. Society and Technological Change. 6th edition. Worth Publishers Inc.
REVIEW — CHAPTER 5: THE DIFFUSION OF TECHNOLOGY (75-94) Technologies — how they are adopted by the individuals and organizations that actually put
them to use (75).
Few technologically dynamic countries have been isolated from the influences of other lands.
Continued technological advance requires an infusion of ideas, tools, and materials from other
places, coupled with an ability to make good use of them (75).
By 1500, China had produced the most technological innovations up to that time, but in less
than two centuries, China’s lead had dissipated and the European continent exhibited the
greater degree of economic and technological vitality. Much of this dynamism could be
attributed to the successful adoption of Chinese inventions by European countries (75-76).
Successful use of foreign technologies by early modern Europe was very much in accordance
with long-standing historical patterns. Much of the economic dynamism and prosperity of the
Western world can be traced to the willingness of its people to accept and make good use of
technologies that originated elsewhere. In contrast, China was far less open to foreign
inventions. Only in recent years has China exhibited an openness to the outside world (76-77).
People and business firms in the U.S. have been much more inclined to borrow technologies
that originated elsewhere. In 1790 — start of America’s industrial revolution — Samuel Slater
(an émigré from England) used his accumulated knowledge to construct the first successful
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This note was uploaded on 11/15/2010 for the course SOC 415 taught by Professor Swift,d during the Fall '08 term at University of Hawaii, Manoa.
- Fall '08