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Democracy and Technology


Democracy and Technology Sclove, 1995. Democracy and Technology Available on Reserve at Mills Library Argues that in many ways the development of technology is ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Democracy and Technology

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Democracy and Technology
  • Sclove, 1995. Democracy and Technology
  • Available on Reserve at Mills Library
  • Argues that in many ways the development of
    technology is incompatible with democracy
  • Our everyday life consists of tech. choices in
    which we did not participate

  • Major question is how does technology bear on
  • -         Should we commit ourselves to evolving
    such institutions and to adopting only those
    technologies that are compatible with democracy?
    Until we do, I shall argue, there can be no
    democracy worthy of the name. (p9)

Types of Democracy
  • Strong democracy organizing society along
    relatively egalitarian and participatory lines
  • Thin democracy preoccupation with
    representative institutions, periodic elections,
    and competition among conflicting private
    interests, elites and power blocs. (p26)
  • Argues, our society is predominantly a thin
    democracy w.r.t. technological control

  • Does the public really want to be involved?
  • Can the public be involved in a meaningful way?

The Old Order Amish An Example of Strong
Democratic Control of Technology
  • Each local Amish community
  • acts collectively
  • asks how would the adoption of a technology
    affect the community as a whole?
  • innovations that would tend, on balance, to
    preserve the community, its religion, and its
    harmonious relation with nature are permitted
  • those that appear to threaten the community and
    its values are rejected
  • decision is reached through a process of public
    discussion and democratic ratification

Figure 12-1. Institutionalizing a Democratic
Politics of Technology
  • Awareness and Mobilization
  • 1. Map local needs and resources
  • 2. Educate, conduct social research
  • 3. Reach out to political movements
  • 4. Create more time for politics

B. Core Activities and Institutions 5.
Initiate democratic RD and design 6. Seek civic
technological empowerment 7. Strengthen
democratic evaluation, choice and governance 8.
Promote supportive institutions
C. Supporting Macroconditions 9. Democratize
corporations, bureaucracy and the state 10.
Subordinate the military to democratic
prerogatives 11. Evolve world political-economic
relations that are more compatible with strong
Group Project Topics
  • 1.      Corporations, Bureaucracy and the State
    (Sclove p. 231)
  • 2.      Patent Law and Innovation
  • 3.      Military Technology, Democracy and the
    Common Good (Sclove p. 232)
  • 4.      Transnational Corporations, Foreign
    Policy, and the World Economy (Sclove p. 235)
  • 5.      Education
  • 6.      Literature and Technological Ethics
  • 7.      Democratic Design Process and RDD
    (Sclove p. 207)
  • 8.      The Rashomon Effect
  • 9.      Media and the Control of Technology
  • 10. Impact Statements and Social Trials (Sclove
    p. 219)
  • 11.  Integrative Technology Assessment (Sclove p.
  • 12.  Democratically Monitored RDD (Sclove p.
  • 13.  Civic Empowerment (Sclove p. 212)
  • 14.  Consensus Conference
  • 15.  Community-based Research
  • 16.  Healthy City Movement or Vision 2020
  • 17.  Alternatives
  • 18.  Neo-Luddites
  • 19.  Community-based Technology