DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY
History 398 - Fall 1997
Technologies and Their Societies: Historical Perspectives
Third Essay - Final Exercise
Write an essay of about 2000 words on ONE of the following questions. Your answer should reflect your knowledge of the readings and lectures through the choice of appropriate examples to document and illustrate your argument.
Karl Marx's analysis of industrial society singles out three factors of production: labor, land, and capital. Yet, in the twentieth century industrial development has increasingly depended on management, which one may perhaps consider a fourth factor of production, at least equally as important as the others. Discuss the emergence and development of management with specific reference to Charles Babbage, Frederick W. Taylor and Henry Ford.
During the period covered by the first half of this course, "information" played little if any role in either the primary or the secondary sources. By the end of the course, "information" had become a concept, a technology, indeed a commodity of modern consumer society. Using specific examples from lectures, readings, and precept discussions, discuss how that happened.
In another work, Langdon Winner has asserted that "we do not use technologies so much as live them." Bearing in mind the terms of his analysis of the politics of artifacts, discuss his claim with comparative reference to a specific example of 19th-century industrial technology and a specific example of 20th-century consumer technology.
Ford's Sociological Department was a formal system of social control in an industrial setting. Compare and contrast this system with the forms of control at work in the in the Eagle project at Data General.
The essay is due by 3:00 PM, 19 January 1997, in your preceptor's box in the History Office, 129 Dickinson Hall. Extensions may be granted only by an appropriate Dean or Director of Studies.