Tag Archives: Technology

Book : Imperial Technoscience by Amit Prasad

 

The origin of modern science is often located in Europe and the West. This Euro/West-centrism relegates emergent practices elsewhere to the periphery, undergirding analyses of contemporary transnational science and technology with traditional but now untenable hierarchical categories. In this book, Amit Prasad examines features of transnationality in science and technology through a study of MRI research and development in the United States, Britain, and India. In an analysis that is both theoretically nuanced and empirically robust, Prasad unravels the entangled genealogies of MRI research, practice, and culture in these three countries.
Prasad follows sociotechnical trails in relation to five aspects of MRI research: invention, industrial development, market, history, and culture. He first examines the well-known dispute between American scientists Paul Lauterbur and Raymond Damadian over the invention of MRI, then describes the post-invention emergence of the technology, as the center of MRI research shifted from Britain to the U.S; the marketing of the MRI and the transformation of MRI research into a corporate-powered “Big Science”; and MRI research in India, beginning with work in India’s nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) laboratories in the 1940s. Finally, he explores the different dominant technocultures in each of the three countries, analyzing scientific cultures as shifting products of transnational histories rather than static products of national scientific identities and cultures. Prasad’s analysis offers not only an innovative contribution to current debates within science and technology studies but also an original postcolonial perspective on the history of cutting-edge medical technology.

http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/imperial-technoscience

Book : Engineers and the Making of Francoist Regime

 In this book, Lino Camprubí argues that  science and technology were at the very center of the building of Franco’s Spain. Previous histories of early Francoist science and technology have described scientists and engineers as working “under” Francoism, subject to censorship and bound by politically mandated research agendas. Camprubí offers a different perspective, considering instead scientists’ and engineers’ active roles in producing those political mandates. Many scientists and engineers had been exiled, imprisoned, or executed by the regime. Camprubí argues that those who remained made concrete the mission of “redemption” that Franco had invented for himself. This gave them the opportunity to become key actors—and mid-level decision makers—within the regime.

Camprubí describes a series of projects across Spain undertaken by the civil engineers and agricultural scientists who placed themselves at the center of their country’s forced modernization. These include a coal silo, built in 1953, viewed as an embodiment of Spain’s industrialized landscape; links between laboratories, architects, and the national Catholic church (and between technology and authoritarian control); vertically organized rice production and research on genetics; river management and the contested meanings of self-sufficiency; and the circulation of construction standards by mobile laboratories as an engine for European integration. Separately, each chapter offers a fascinating microhistory that illustrates the coevolution of Francoist science, technology, and politics. Taken together, they reveal networks of people, institutions, knowledge, artifacts, and technological systems woven together to form a new state.

http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/engineers-and-making-francoist-regime

Book : The Colonial Machine: French Science and Overseas Expansion in the Old Regime

colonial machineThe rise of modern science and European colonial and imperial expansion are indisputably two defining elements of modern world history. James E. McClellan III and François Regourd explore these two world-historical forces and their interactions in this comprehensive and in-depth history of the French case in the Old Regime presented here for the first time. The case is key because no other state matched Old-Regime France as a center for organized science and because contemporary France closely rivaled Britain as a colonial power, as well as leading all other nations in commodity production and participating in the slave trade.
Based on extensive archival research and vast primary and secondary literatures and sharply reframing the historiography of the field, this landmark volume traces the development and significance for early-modern history of the Colonial Machine of Old-Regime France, an unparalleled agglomeration of institutions geared to the success of the French colonial enterprise, including the Royal Navy, the Académie Royale des Sciences, the Jardin du Roi, and a host of related specialist institutions working together at home and overseas. Mainly supported by the French state, the Colonial Machine reveals itself through its actions from the time of Colbert and Louis XIV as it grappled with fundamental problems facing contemporary European colonialism: cartography and navigation; medical care of sailors, colonists, and slaves; and applied botany and commodity production.
Historians of globalization and European overseas expansion, of Old-Regime France, and of science in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries will henceforth take this stimulating volume as a necessary starting point for further reflection and research

Book : Technology and Rural Change in Eastern India 1830-1980

The book discusses how Western technology, primarily the means of transport and manufacture, changed the Indian village. Technology reached India through colonialism, as also through corporate bodies and private enterprise. The study is based on British Bengal, which correspondis to present-day West Bengal and Bangladesh. British Bengal also included Bihar, Orissa, and Assam for intermediary periods-these areas have also been frequently referred to by way of illustration.

With Calcutta as the hub, eastern India was the gateway of technology transmission to India. Underneath the relatively known areas of technology build-up, there was an inner layer of its transmission from the colonial metropolis to the interior, which is much less known. This book, a social history of technology in the main, analyses the context and results of technology induction to the village, such as the railways redrawing the morphology of rural settlement, the new tools-led empowerment of artisans, or their dispossession due to mechanization.

While technology improved the quality of life in the West, it largely failed to mitigate poverty in rural India. The book addresses why it failed to accelerate development in India. Based on local level sources, the work blends hard data with folk usage, oral tradition, songs, sayings, and vernacular literature, thereby infusing into the text both a life and a historical insight most often ignored.

New Issue Feb 2014 Seminar Magazine : State of Science

  • THE PROBLEM
    Posed by Dhruv Raina, Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

  • SCIENCE, NATIONALISM AND THE STATE
    Benjamin Zachariah, Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies, University of Heidlherg

  • THE PUBLIC LIFE OF EXPERTISE
    Shiju Sam Varughese
    Centre for Studies in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, School of Social Sciences, Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar Continue reading

One Valley and a Thousand: Dams, Nationalism, and Development by Daniel Klingensmith,

 By the end of the twentieth century, more then 45,000 large dams were built world wide displacing millions of people, and dramatically altering both ecosystems and social systems centered on rivers. A majority of these dams were constructed after 1945. This book seeks to explain the enormous global investment in dams since 1945 and explores their connections to political ideologies. It shows the lack of concern and awareness of policymakers and electorates about the human tragedies. It also sheds light on the disappointing performace of many river valley projects. The author traces the history of the politics and the political culture that influenced economic and technical decisions in the creation of particular dams in India and the United States. In doing so, he contributes to a broader discussion on the politcal significance of dams worldwide, and of the connections between development and nationalism. Continue reading

Article : Historical Validity of Mullaperiyar Project by R. Seenivasan, EPW

This historical analysis of the Periyar project questions the arguments and some of the contemporary claims made about the project’s engineering and construction, and its environmental impact. Far from being an environmentally destructive project, this was a “pacifist” scheme when it was built. The article throws light on these issues by analysing historical documents.

url : http://www.epw.in/commentary/historical-validity-mullaperiyar-project.html

Talk : From Local Technologies to New Forms of Global Governance

Balaji Parthasarathy, Reversing the flows of ideas? From local technologies for the marginalised to new forms of global governance. Tiffin Talk, Australia India Institute, 28 March 2013.

“For decades, largely agrarian, previously colonial, developing countries were the recipients of technologies, in domains ranging from medicine to transportation. The technologies also came embedded in specific ideas about social organisation and governance mechanisms, such as bureaucratic or market rationality. Lately, there is evidence of changes to the direction of flow as developing countries have become adept late-industrialisers who produce technology. Continue reading

Book: The Social Construction of Technology

Wiebe E. Bijker, Thomas P. Hughes, Trevor Pinch (eds). The Social Construction of Technological Systems. New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press: Cambridge (Massachusetts), London (England). 1999.

“The impact of technology on society is clear and unmistakable. The influence of society on technology is more subtle. The 13 essays in this book draw on a wide array of case studies from cooking stoves to missile systems, from 15th­century Portugal to today’s AI labs – to outline an original research program based on a synthesis of ideas from the social studies of science and the history of technology. Together they affirm the need for a study of technology that gives equal weight to technical, social, economic, and political questions.”

Table of Contents

Introduction

1. Trevor Pinch and Wiebe E. Bijker.The Social Construction of Facts and Artifacts. Or How the Sociology of Science and the Sociology of Technology Might Benefit Each Other

2. Thomas P. Hughes. The Evolution of Large Technological Systems

3. Michel Callon. Society in the Making The Study of Technology as a Tool for Sociological Analysis

4. John Law. Technology and Heterogeneous Engineering The Case of Portuguese Expansion

5. Henk van den Belt and Arie Rip. The Nelson-Winter-Dosi Model and Synthetic Dye Chemistry

6. Wiebe E. Bijker. The Social Construction of Bakelite Toward a Theory of Invention

7. Donald MacKenzie. Missile AccuracyA Case of Study in the Social Processes of Technological Change

8. Edward W. Constant. The Social Locus of Technological Practice Community, System, or Organization, III

9. Henk J.H.W. Bodewitz, Henk Buurma and Gerard H. de Vries. Regulatory Science and the Social Management of Trust in Medicine

10. Ruth Schwartz Cowan. The Consumption Junction. A Proposal for Research Strategies in the Sociology of Technology

11. Edward Yoxen. Seeing with SoundA Study of the Development of Medical Images

12. Steve Woolgar. Reconstructing Man and MachineA Note on Sociological Critiques of Cognitivism.

13. Harry M. Collins. Expert Systems and the Science of Knowledge

About the Editors

Wiebe E. Bijker is Professor of Technology & Society at the University of Maastricht.

Thomas P. Hughes is Professor of the History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

Trevor Pinch is Professor of Science and Technology Studies and Professor of Sociology at Cornell University. He is the coeditor of How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (MIT Press, 2003) and the coauthor of Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer and other books.

 

 

 

Book: Knowledge Swaraj

C. Shambu Prasad (ed.), Piloting Knowledge Swaraj: A handbook on Indian Science and Technology, Xavier Institute of Management Bhubaneswar, Orissa, March 2011. For: Knowledge In Civil Society (KICS)-Centre for World Solidarity,

http://kicsforum.net/kics/setdev/Piloting_Knowledge_Swaraj.pdf

 

Contents

PILOTING KNOWLEDGE SWARAJ IN INDIA: A HANDBOOK ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN INDIA

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 Methodology of the Pilots

1.2 Piloting Knowledge Swaraj

2. MEDICAL ETHICS: A CASE STUDY OF HYSTERECTOMY IN ANDHRA PRADESH

2.1 THE ISSUE

2.2 HYSTERECTOMY-THE CLINICAL PICTURE

2.3. HYSTERECTOMY-SOCIAL FACTORS AND CONSEQUENCES

2. 4 HYSTERECTOMY-ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS

2.5 CONCLUSIONS

3. SUSTAINABILITY AND PLURALITY IN THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: A CASE STUDY OF

RECONSTRUCTION

3.1 The Case-Study and its methodology

3.1.1 Methodology adopted

3.2 Introduction: Built Environment and Reconstruction

3.3 Approaches in Reconstruction

3.3.1 Comparison of Reconstruction Approaches

3.4. Overview of three disasters: The Context

3.4.1 The Gujarat Earthquake

3.4.2 The Tsunami in Tamil Nadu

3.4.3 Bihar Kosi Floods

3.5. Policy environment & Regulatory mechanisms

3.5.1 Institutional arrangements and reconstruction approaches

3.5.2 Guidelines, Building Codes and Norms

3.5.3 Where ‘guidelines’ fail and/or are inadequate

3.6. “Whose space is it anyway?”

3.6.1 The ‘Client’ and the Commission

3.6.2 Site allocation: Relocation vs. In-situ Reconstruction

3.6.3 Habitat Planning / Settlement Design

3.6.4 Building: design, materials and technologies

3.6.5. “Fusion” approaches

3.7. People’s Initiatives: Plurality, Sustainability and Justice

3.8. Conclusions & Recommendations

Recommendations

References

4. ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY –EXPERIMENTS IN DEMOCRATIZING

WATER SECTOR

4.1. Rationale for a Case Study on Water

4.2. Narrative of the three themes

4.2.1 River Valley Development – Understanding Tungabhadra from a Common Citizen’s Point of View

4.2.2 Ground Water Management – Social Regulation experiences of CWS and WASSAN

4.2.3 Lessons from Collaborative Advocacy Efforts by CSOs: Watershed development projects in Andhra Pradesh

4.3 Actors, roles and Knowledge Swaraj

4.3.1 Identifying actors

4.3.2 Sustainability

4.3.3 Plurality

4.4. Lessons and Conclusions

5. SOCIALISING SCIENCE IN INDIAN: SOME LESSONS FROM INDIAN EXPERIENCE

APPENDIX: SOCIALISING SCIENCE – BEYOND PROJECT TIME FRAMES