For the most current, comprehensive resource in this rapidly evolving field, look no further than the Revised Edition of the Handbook of Science and Technology Studies. This masterful volume is the first resource in more than 15 years to define, summarize, and synthesize this complex multidisciplinary, international field. Tightly edited with contributions by an internationally recognized team of leading scholars, this volume addresses the crucial contemporary issues—both traditional and nonconventional—social studies, political studies, and humanistic studies in this changing field. Containing theoretical essays, extensive literature reviews, and detailed case studies, this remarkable volume clearly sets the standard for the field. It does nothing less than establish itself as the benchmark, one that will carry the field well into the next century. 

Chapter 12: From “Impact” to Social Process: Computers in Society and Culture

From “Impact” to Social Process: Computers in Society and Culture

From “impact” to social process: Computers in society and culture
Paul N. Edwards

A couple of years ago I received from a publisher, unsolicited, a copy of a new textbook on computers and social issues. It was a sleek large-format paperback with a beautifully designed computer graphic on the cover. In imposing black type, the title read: Computers and SocietyIMPACT!

The sensationalism of this title, with its billiard-ball imagery, nicely encapsulates what is probably the most common view of the relationship between information technology and the social world. Computers are arguably among the half dozen most important post-World War II technologies, an impressive list that might include television, jet aircraft, satellites, missiles, atomic weapons, and genetic engineering. The ...

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