Technological Determinism

1162 words 5 pages
Technological determinism is a term developed by Marshal McLuhan, a theorist in the study of new media. By technological determinism, McLuhan refers to technology having the power to change societies and influence our cultures. In this essay I will argue that technology does have the power to change society and influence a civilization, using ideas put forward by Marshal McLuhan. I will also discuss the debate around technological determinism recognizing the claims made by Raymond Williams that society shapes technology as we look back at its emergence and their subsequent control.
Both theorists have an interest in new media but it is the argument between weather technologies can shape society or is society shaping technology (LM
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When radio was in its early stages of development, one potential form was to be something like the telephone. The main US telephone company fought to keep the ‘common carrier’ network to itself. This shows how the development of the technology was very much dependent on existing political and economic situations in the society. This is where Williams brings a political economy perspective into the shaping process, by considering how dominant groups in society determine the shapes of technologies.
McLuhan argues that technological determinism is the driving force in society (McLuhan 1964)) on the other side of the argument is Williams and his claims that society created technology to suit its need’s. This long term debate is destined not to have an end. Because technology is something man created and used for their advantages there is no logical reason as to how technology can be created by man and influence society at the same time. Yes technology may influence society but society have also used technology for the betterment of society and controlling its uses not to overcome the capabilities of society but to make life easier for the human race. Technology and its development depend on the society and the needs that are associated with society. Technological determinism is a term created by McLuhan as he recognises the effects of technology in society but at the same time Williams argues that technology will only have a major effect in society if man lets


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