Science, Technology and Culture

Science, Technology and Culture

Science, Technology and Culture

Science, Technology and Culture

Synopsis

Using the tools and approaches of cultural studies, David Bell provides an engaging introduction to the study of science and technology. Equipping readers with an understanding of science and technology as aspects of culture, the book encourages them to think about the roles and effects of science and technology in everyday life. Topics include: Representations of science and scientists in popular films, Contests over amateur, fringe and pseudo-science, Domestic technologies and household gender politics.

Excerpt

'Scientists have finally broken the hound barrier,' my newspaper reliably informs me today, because they have succeeded in cloning an Afghan puppy called Snuppy from the skin cells of a three-year-old male dog. In heralding the arrival of Snuppy – short for the Seoul National University puppy – as the latest breakthrough in the fast-moving 'world of genetic manipulation', the news report declares that it brings to an end 'a seven-year worldwide race to replicate a dog from donor cells using the technique pioneered by British scientists when they cloned Dolly the sheep in 1998'. Another day, another scientific wonder. Across the mediascape, whether it's the daily news or the latest Hollywood science fiction blockbuster, science is seen to be providing answers, solving problems, and making the world a better place – at least, that is, when it's not threatening us with imminent extinction by spiralling out of control. One need not invoke a language of causative media 'effects' or 'impacts' to acknowledge the formative ways in which we draw upon media representations – factional and factual alike – to help us make sense of scientific controversies. And what of Snuppy in this regard? 'Sadly,' one scientist commented, 'the media interest is likely to attract pet owners keen to recreate their much-loved pets, although this demand is unlikely to be met until the efficiency of cloning is raised.' Meanwhile, she added, the cloning of animals 'raises many ethical and moral issues that have still to be properly debated within the profession'.

It is in seeking to contribute to new ways of thinking about these issues that David Bell's Science, Technology and Culture makes its intervention. As is made clear from the outset of the discussion, this book calls into question a range of familiar assumptions that typically underlie approaches which maintain that science and technology work 'outside' of culture, and thus simply produce . . .

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