An Introduction to the Study of Technology

Technology, the application of science to the enhancement and/or the transformation of the existing environment or, more precisely, to the effective modification and control of human behaviour or, at least, to the extent that human beings are able to relate to these changes as a desirable effect. The field of technology studies is typically dealt in several articles dealing with different aspects of technology. One of the most important areas is the history of technology. In this regard, one must take into account the influence of such technologies as the printing press, electricity, and the internal combustion engine on the emergence of the world economy. The development of certain specific technologies, such as steam power and railroad engineering, also plays an important role in the understanding of technology.


Another area of inquiry dealing with technology is the technological change in society. Technological change refers to such things as the movement toward knowledge economy, information technology, and the globalization of work. As Albert Einstein once asked, “What has technical art got to do with culture?” Although there are a great many factors that contribute to the meaning of culture, there are some things like technology that cannot be denied as having a significant impact on the making of culture.

One way to study technology, therefore, is through the concept of cultural approach. Cultural approach first maintains that technological systems have an effect on social practices even when these systems are based on technological artifacts. Thus, cultural analysis maintains that a technological artifact can itself become a part of a social reality even if its function is purely informational. It also maintains that cultural systems can be affected by the technological systems created by people in their communities. Furthermore, cultural approach takes as a starting point the idea that the arts can be studied from a material point of view, as objects.