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TitleThe Impacts of Technological Change
File Size903.2 KB
Total Pages180
Table of Contents
Technology & Societal Development
Jacques Ellul’s Technological Society
The Technological Revolution
Knowledge-Based Economy
The Digital Divide
The Internet & Society
Technology & the Mass Media
Social Aspects of Technology in Education
Social Impacts of Wireless Communication
Technology & the Judicial System
Social Impacts of Cyber Crime
Technology & Surveillance
Technology & Medicine
Weapons of Mass Destruction
Terms & Concepts
Document Text Contents
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The Editors of Salem Press

Pasadena, California • Hackensack, New Jersey

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86 Sociology Reference Guide

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The Impacts of Technological Change 87

Television was pioneered and first publicly demonstrated in 1926, although
the technology remained experimental for years. Commercial television
broadcasting began in 1941, but almost immediately the government in-
stituted a wartime freeze on expansion of stations and production of tele-
vision sets. The freeze was lifted in 1945, and television’s boom began in
1947, slowed temporarily by another freeze, this time to control the number
of new stations from 1948-1952. Because consumers were already adept
at radio use, television use required little further socialization. Advertise-
ments in magazines hyped TV sets as the center of family life before most
consumers owned one, making suggestions about where to locate TV sets,
and advising that television would bring the family together (Spigel, 1990).

Generally, when a new technology is introduced, people first interpret its
usefulness in terms of older technologies. Gradually, as people develop
new uses for new technologies, their behavior changes and the new tech-
nologies feel indispensable to them. The new uses then bring about changes
in social norms. For example, the telephone was first used in the same way
as the telegraph; the idea of a central exchange linking households was
slow to develop. Of course, once house-to-house communication was es-
tablished, telephones became seen as necessary (Aronson, 1977). Likewise,
the wireless nature of cellular telephones was first used in much the same
way as land lines; it took a few years for people to develop uses for the cell
phone that could not be replicated on a land line.

As cell phones have become widespread, they have changed social be-
haviors. For example, studies show that the convenience and accessibil-
ity of cell phone communication leads people to spend less time planning
their schedules; their use of time becomes more spontaneous. This lack of
planning in turn creates a need to continue using the cell phones; people
feel dependent on them. Some people report a need to engage in “digital
fidgeting” by constantly checking messages and sports scores (Croal, 2008;
Thulin & Vilhelmson, 2007).

As cell phones first became popular, a debate emerged about changing
norms concerning appropriate behavior in public. The major point of
dispute revolves around the politeness of answering the phone when in
public: is it rude to do so when out with friends or on a date? When is it

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The Impacts of Technological Change 175

Generic Medical Products, 47
Gestaltpsychologie, 141
Globalization, 10, 11, 17, 20, 22, 24, 29-

31, 36, 37
GPS Tracking, 98
Great Transformation, 36
Gutenberg-Galaxy, 58

Hacktivism, 111
Human Genome Project (HGP), 138

Identity Theft, 50, 60, 61, 109, 111, 112
Individuals with Disabilities Education

Act (IDEA), 75
Industrialization, 6, 7, 10, 126
Industrial Revolution, 6
Inequality, 69
Information & Communication Tech-

nology (ICT), 39, 47, 55, 60, 67, 74
Information Literacy, 74
Information Society, 37, 50, 108
Information Technology (IT), 44, 46, 48,

67, 91
Information Technology Literacy (ITL),

74, 75
Integrated Data, 103
Integrated Learning Systems (ILS), 77
Internet Polling, 50
I-Reporter, 70

Judicial Management, 103

Knowledge-Based Economy, 39, 40-42
Knowledge Economy, 37


Land Transport, 31

Media, 46, 65, 67, 68, 102, 110
Media-Multitasking, 46
Medical Technology, 132
Microchips, 120
Mutually Assured Destruction, 149

Nanotechnology, 140
Network Society, 39
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001

(NCLB), 74
Norms, 8, 9, 40, 42, 84, 87, 120
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

(NPT), 150

Panopticon, 118-120
Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 73,

Patriot Act, 118, 122
Positron Emission Tomography (PET),

130, 131
Postindustrial Society, 7
Preindustrial, 5, 6
Propaganda, 19, 61

Radiological Dispersion Devices

(RDD), 152

Satellite Images, 123
Semantic Web, 104
Shipping, 30
Sick Role, 129
Social Interaction, 88
Social Network Providers, 61
Social Ties, 89
Sociocultural Evolution, 5
Spam, 109
Symbolic-Capital Theory, 46

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176 Sociology Reference Guide


Telecommunications, 27
Telejustice, 104 105
Terrorist Websites, 61
The Social Construction of Reality, 41 42
Transhumanism, 141 142
Transportation, 30


Übermensch, 137

Uploading, 140
U. S. Department of Education, 81


Videoconferencing, 98 104


Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD),
146 152 153

Wikipedia, 59 60
Wireless Technology, 28 74 84 86 88 91

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