The Technological Economy

The Technological Economy

The Technological Economy

The Technological Economy


In this major new collection, leading experts explore the multidisciplinary connections between technology and economy, drawing on new convergences between economic sociology and science and technology studies. Through theoretical and empirical studies, the authors investigate: * economics and economic knowledges as technologies * the economies as socio-technical arrangements * the nature of innovation * the role of technological mediations in representing and performing economies. This revealing book, ideal for those with an interest in contemporary social theory,nbsp;interrogates the evidence for the contemporary claims about the emergence of the 'new economy' and 'knowledge-based economies' and sheds new light on the relationship between economy and culture.


Andrew Barry and Don Slater

'The technological economy' is a pun whose multiple meanings reflect the complexity of new understandings of 'the economic'. The many and diverse issues that connect 'technology' and 'economy' are indicated first by the increasing, and productive, convergences between science and technology studies on the one hand and economic sociology on the other. This intellectual agenda resonates with a wider range of relations between technology and economy that provide the stuff of contemporary attempts to understand the economic: economics as a technology; economies as material arrangements of technical devices; the nature of technological innovation and its role in socio-economic change; and models of contemporary society which draw on scientific and technological concepts, such as network and complexity.

We begin with two commonplace observations regarding contemporary economic life. The first observation is that the production and consumption of knowledge, information and culture have become increasingly central to economic activity. We live in what has variously been described as a knowledge-based economy, a post-industrial society, an information society, a new economy, a cultural economy, an economy of signs or a network society (Bell 1973; Lyotard 1984; Lash and Urry 1994; Castells 1996; Webster 1996; du Gay and Pryke 2002). Within such a society, the generation of new knowledge and other immaterial goods is thought to be increasingly important to economic success. Economic growth over the long term is reckoned to depend on innovation and creativity. One sense of the title of this volume refers to the critical part that innovation and new technology have come to play in economic life.

The second observation is that there has been a huge growth in the production of knowledge about economic life. Economic and financial analysts produce assessments of current and future performance of firms, industrial sectors, and national and global economies (Miller and Rose 1990; Knorr-Cetina and Preda 2000; Jessop, this volume). Political activists, policy makers and social theorists have sought to develop accounts of the globalisation of economic activity and the weaknesses of policies and politics that confine themselves to the level of the nation state. Firms and public institutions are increasingly subject to various forms of audit and monitoring. Campaigners try to make visible the negative effects of

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