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Technological Momentum

  • By: Sarah Boslaugh
  • In: Green Technology: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Dustin Mulvaney
  • Subject:Environmental Sciences (general), Environmental Technology, Policy & Management

Historian of technology Thomas P. Hughes coined the term technological momentum to describe a theory of the relationship between society and technology that incorporates constructs from two other theories: technological determinism and social construction. Hughes views the relationship between technology and society as reciprocal and time dependent, so that technology neither determines changes in society nor society changes in technology, but that both may influence each other, and their relationship can change over time. Hughes first applied this concept to hydrogenation in Germany in the early 20th century, but has since used it to explain such varied social and historical phenomena as the development of light and power companies in the United States and the survival of work begun by the Manhattan Project after the ...

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