Resources Regarding Technology and Culture
October 1, 2008 2:55 PM   Subscribe

The Non-Profit I'm working for is looking into the issues of technology and culture. That is.. how technology effects culture, how it changes the way we think, learn, etc. Despite this seeming a rather obvious topic, I'm having a hard time finding good research sources. My guess is I'm not asking the question properly, but that doesn't change what I need to know.

I'm looking for rather current works on the issue, I've found a number of good cultural criticism and sociology texts but they are too dated and I'm interested in our current, webcentric lifestyle and our ways of gathering knowledge - not so much cars and the lightbulb.

One of the best books I've came across, as far as general theory, is Neil Postman's "Technopoly" and while it doesn't address the current issues too terribly, it's a good start. So I'm willing to entertain this as well.

Any suggestions on websites, magazines, books, etc. would be greatly appreciated.
posted by Gideon to Technology (12 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
What do you mean by culture?
posted by k8t at 3:10 PM on October 1, 2008

technology + culture = Marshall McLuhan

Not particularly contemporary, he's been dead for years, but the serious study pretty much starts with him.
posted by philip-random at 3:14 PM on October 1, 2008

Three suggestions:

Look at all the Michael Wesch work you can.

Peruse the Pew Internet/American Life Project.

Browse the publication list at Northwestern's Media, Technology, and Society program.
posted by j-dawg at 3:34 PM on October 1, 2008

This is actively studied in three fields that I know about: STS (Science and Technology Studies), Media Theory / Departments of "New Media", and HCI (Human-Computer Interaction, though this tends to be shorter studies of specific technologies, not general stuff like "the internet"). I'd google around on these topics and see if that helps any. There are many journals in each of these topics.
posted by zpousman at 3:38 PM on October 1, 2008

Definitely check out the New Atlantis. They're clearly coming from a well-defined perspective--conservative-ish Catholic, mostly--but they're doing excellent work on the subject.
posted by valkyryn at 3:38 PM on October 1, 2008

You might be interested in the exploit and protocol. They're pretty heavy in the sociology theory language (at least from my non-sociologist perspective) but i thought many of the ideas were interesting.
posted by dkg at 4:46 PM on October 1, 2008

Also see this item on the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Learning Initiative.
posted by yclipse at 4:58 PM on October 1, 2008

Jacques Ellul's classic The Technological Society. While a bit dated, it's still a definite reference.

Also, Ivan Illich is pretty insightful as well. Read his Tools for Conviviality.
posted by symbollocks at 5:23 PM on October 1, 2008

I just noticed this 2008 Frontline episode Growing Up Online on the PBS web site. Haven't watched it yet but it seems like it might contain some leads.
posted by XMLicious at 5:51 PM on October 1, 2008

Not exactly what you're looking for, but you might consider asking this question on the TechSoup forums. They're the best overlap of techie and nonprofit that I know.
posted by mygothlaundry at 6:40 PM on October 1, 2008

One interesting source is the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.
posted by PueExMachina at 7:28 PM on October 1, 2008

Best answer: Washington Post article with some good links

Perhaps look at some of the research at the MIT media lab or the academic institutions linked on danah boyd's page.
posted by NikitaNikita at 7:39 PM on October 1, 2008

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