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Technology and Social Choices in the Era of Social Transformations

Edited By Borut Rončević and Matej Makarovič

From the dawn of humanity, the dialectic relationship between technology and society has been one of the driving forces behind changes in both realms. Trends in technological developments and their applications are, ultimately, the result of individual and collective choices. At the same time, technology influences the social choices of individuals, small groups and entire societies. This book focuses on two closely related ideas: technological development and social choices. While relating them, the book shows the relationship between human individuals and their agency; social structures, both as the initial context and as resulting from human agency; and technology that has been developed and applied by human agents’ choices within social contexts.

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Inseparability of Technology and Society: An Introduction

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Technology cannot be separated from society. From the dawn of humanity, the dialectic relationship between the two has been one of the driving forces behind changes in both realms. Trends in technological developments and their applications are, ultimately, the result of individual and collective choices. At the same time, technology influences the social choices of individuals, small groups and entire societies.

As a result, it is impossible to avoid the issue of technology in an analysis of the development of societies. These developments are, whether examining them at a grand scale or in long-term perspectives, often analysed as the global trends or megatrends. There have been many attempts at mapping them. One such approach, from the perspective of sociology, is the analysis of the four global trends by Genov (1997). None of the four trends would be possible without technological developments. The trend of the spread of instrumental activism is best demonstrated through the ideology and practice of industrialism that have been incorporated in technological infrastructures. The trend of individualization is immeasurably enabled by technological devices and enhanced by the rapid pace of technological change, which makes certainties that were previously granted by the levels of collective-based educational processes unattainable. The trend of upgrading organizational rationality is increasingly inseparable from technological innovations, pioneered in their industrial settings in Western Europe, and then spread throughout the globe. Even the trend of value-normative universalization would not be possible without technological advances, be it the Guttenberg’s invention of the printing press...

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