On the Soft Power of Sci-Tech Culture and Paths to Improve It

By Huimin, Yang | Studies in Sociology of Science, December 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

On the Soft Power of Sci-Tech Culture and Paths to Improve It


Huimin, Yang, Studies in Sociology of Science


According to the view of Joseph Nye, economy, sci-tech, and military affairs belong to the category of "hard power", while "soft power" includes culture, values, social systems, ideologies and so on. His partition between hard power and soft power make technology and culture belong to different fields, resulting in the illusion of antagonism between technology and culture. However, during the developmental history of human civilization, sci-tech always contains rich cultural connotations, the simple sci-tech excluding culture does not exist. Culture is a dynamic organism which needs constant critique, explanation, and updating. Sci-tech has been brought into the dynamic organisms of cultural development since the date of its birth, and as the rapid development of modern sci-tech practice, has developed a unique scientific and cultural system.

1. SCI-TECH CULTURE AND THE SOFT POWER OF SCI-TECH CULTURE

Culture is the spiritual accumulation and the crystallization of wisdom in the production of human life in the long-term social practice, while sci-tech culture refers to a special cultural type formed in the developmental process of sci-tech, and also the important part of human cultural organisms. The first people who regard sci-tech as a kind of cultural phenomenon and do research on it are Bacon and Campanula. They described "the sci-tech island" and "the sci-tech city" in their works "The New Atlantic Island" and "The Sun City", and paid more attention to the cultural type and value of sci-tech. Admittedly, there were sci-tech in ancient time, the early peoples of the world more or less developed their own scientific ideas and technological capabilities in the practice of understanding and changing nature. Egypt, India, Babylon, and China known as "four countries with ancient civilizations", is because these countries created a world-class scientific and technological civilization at that time. But strictly speaking, sci-tech culture is the product of practice and development of scientific and technological revolution. Sci-tech culture which has developed an independent cultural system is mainly because of the birth of modern science and the advanced development of modern sci-tech. With the constant establishment of new ideas, new inventions, new material technologies and new disciplines, and with an unprecedented power, they are impacting and changing the way of producing and living of ancient people, resulting in the changes in people's world outlook, values and was of thinking.

The connotation of sci-tech culture: as culture has a broad and narrow sense, has its own. Broadly speaking, sci-tech culture refers to the way in which people apply the available sci-tech into changing and adapting to nature and society, and the achievement; while narrowly speaking, sci-tech culture emphasizes on the fields of spirit and ideology. The development of sci-tech culture is not a monolithic block, and moves forward in isolation, but in a very strong seepage force and universality, blends into all areas of social life and the other cultures in society through various means and forms, and becomes the common carrier and bridge of world's nations and regional cultures.

Seen from the specific content, sci-tech culture includes sci-tech knowledge, sci-tech thought, sci-tech systems, sci-tech morals, sci-tech spirits, and so on. As the hard core of sci-tech culture, sci-tech culture is the systematic summary on the practical experience of sci-tech theory and technology. The update of scientific knowledge each time provides a new theory and new ways for human to understand and change the world, and improves their ability to understand and change the world. Sci-tech thought refers to values contained in sci-tech culture, and is a valuable spiritual wealth of human beings. The values like reason, regulation, justice, tolerance, critique, creativity, efficiency, collaboration, and so on, are the basic factors which promote the revolution of values and norms of conduct in the process of national industrialization and modernization. …

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