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Disruptive Technology

Social Media from Modiano to Zola and Proust

Elizabeth Emery

their literary landscape. * He expressed concern about how these new forms of information technology encroach upon the silence and intimacy necessary for human reflection and, by implication, for the production of literature. 1 Modiano’s comments were

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Environmental Expertise as Group Belonging

Environmental Sociology Meets Science and Technology Studies

Rolf Lidskog and Göran Sundqvist

different sectors use environmental expertise to develop cleaner technologies, as well as to improve their public image and strengthen their brands. Thus, hardly any claims about environmental action—whether they come from governments, environmental

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Brian Wemp

The Grands Magasins Dufayel, a huge department store built on the northern fringe of late nineteenth-century Paris, had an important cultural influence on the city's working class. In a neighborhood with few public spaces, it provided a consumer version of the public square. It encouraged workers to approach shopping as a social activity, just as the bourgeoisie did at the famous department stores in central Paris. Like the bourgeois stores, it helped transform consumption from a personal transaction between customer and merchant into an unmediated relationship between consumer and goods. Through advertising the store portrayed itself as a space where the working-class visitor could participate in new and exciting forms of entertainment and technology. Its unique instore cinema and exhibits of inventions like X-ray machines and the gramophone created a new kind of urban space that celebrated the close relationship between technology and consumer culture.

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Dimanche à Orly

The Jet-Age Airport and the Spectacle of Technology between Sky and Earth

Vanessa R. Schwartz

This article examines the second most visited site in Paris during the 1960s, behind only the Eiffel Tower, which stood outside the city's walls in Orly. The airport there, re-built in 1961 to welcome the new era of high-speed air travel in the form of jet service, featured a prominent “terrasse” where visitors paid admission to watch the jets come and go. This article examines the jet-age renovation of the airport and the wild popularity of visits there in order to consider the role of visual spectacle in advancing the culture of technological optimism of 1960s France.

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Wolfgang Krohn

This article presents a long-term study of German waste management policies and technologies as they developed during the second half of the twentieth century. The postwar "waste avalanche" called for quick and crude political decisions. Unexpected environmental side effects prompted new governance and leads through six different stages of policies based on scientific models and advanced technologies—all of them controversial. The case exemplifies a typical condition of a knowledge society. Politics demands a reliable knowledge base for rational decision making. Science, however, supplies open-ended research and increases uncertainties. Turning the dilemma into an operational perspective, I suggest speaking of processes of real-world experimentation with waste. The transformation of waste from something to be ignored and disregarded into an epistemic object of concern is bound to experimenting with existing and newly designed waste sites as well as with socio-technical management systems. The study focuses on the development in Germany. Its general features, however, are characteristic for comparable industrial societies.

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Marco Sonnberger and Michael Ruddat

various countries ( Demski et al. 2015 ; Sovacool and Tambo 2016 ). Since the public acceptability of energy transitions depends on citizens’ complex perceptual patterns of various aspects of these transitions (e.g., acceptance of energy technologies and

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Erin Moore Daly

This article explores the hidden, suppressed elements of New Orleans leading up to and immediately following Hurricane Katrina. The article is juxtaposed with excerpts from Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities in order to provide a lens through which to ask questions not typically raised by government officials, city planners, and science and technology experts. This uncovers aspects of New Orleans that must not be overlooked in the rebuilding process. If policy, culture, and technology render aspects of New Orleans invisible, then only by revealing these aspects can one ascertain the truth of the city.

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Claire Wallace

Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) open up the possibility of new forms of relationship and engagement, which form part of the sociality of modern society, leading some to characterize this as a transition to an "information society", a "network society", or a "third industrial revolution". This has implications for Social Quality, especially in terms of social cohesion, social inclusion and social empowerment. Drawing upon recent research we find that ICTs have added new dimensions to social life in ways that go beyond the original formulations of the digital divide. Conversely, Social Quality can also add important insights into our understanding of the relationship between society and technology. The article argues that discussions of Social Quality should take these dimensions into account.

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Mark Huberty

Mark Huberty, Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University The development of the high-technology startup sector in Germany is critical for the adjustment of the German economy to growing international competition in traditional industrial sectors. The article explores whether changes to the German venture capital financing sector in the period 1995-2005 indicate an improved development path for high-technology startup firms. Based on the volumes and structure of venture capital investments during this period, I conclude that the venture capital sector has undergone substantial change in favor of financing and supporting high-technology startup firms. However, small firm behavior suggests that even with a changed venture capital sector, the overall regulatory structure of the German economy will result in lower rates of firm success than otherwise would be expected from a resurgent venture capital market. The policy implication is that, without additional regulatory reform favoring small, high-technology enterprises, the transformation of German industry will continue to be constrained.

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(Un)seen Seas

Technological Mediation, Oceanic Imaginaries, and Future Depths

Stephanie Ratté

Remote technologies and digitally mediated representations now serve as a central mode of interaction with hard-to-reach sea spaces and places. This article reviews the literature on varied scholarly engagements with the sea and on the oceanic application of technologies—among them geographic information systems, remotely operated vehicles, and autonomous underwater vehicles—that allow people to envision and engage with deep and distant oceanic spaces. I focus on the extension of a digital and disembodied human presence in the oceans and the persistence of frontier fictions, in which the sea figures as a site of future-oriented possibilities. Finally, I ask what the emphasis on “seeing” through technological mediation means for how we imagine vast spaces, and consider how these elements of the oceanic imaginary can be productively complicated by drawing attention to the materiality of the oceans and the scalar politics of dynamic spaces.