Firstly to my future tutor…WELCOME!
Now lets get on to business and dissecting this week’s reading and what I think. The two central frameworks from the Murphie and Potts reading include ‘technological determinism’ and ‘cultural materialism’.
My understanding of ‘technological determinism’, can quiet simply be put as, technology being the vehicle or agent for social change. As the reading continues to describe this framework, where technology is seen as an independent factor, I can begin to understand how there are counter arguments in seeing how technology interacts with culture/society.
Marshall McLuhan goes on to further develop this line of ‘technological determinism’, by claiming that the “basic premise is that technologies are extensions of human capacities” (Murphie and Potts, pp13, 2003) and that the “medium is the message” (Murphie and Potts, pp 13 and http://archives.cbc.ca/arts_entertainment/media/topics/342/). I agree that his definition of technology is essentially viable, in terms of technology being an extension of human capacities, however the ‘medium rather than the message’ aspect can be argued either way.
Although different mediums can seem to bombard and side track the consumer, perhaps drawing attention away from the message itself, with blogs, you tube, TV, radio etc essentially, this ‘total perceptual field’ (Murphie and Potts, pp 14, 2003) created as a result of choice and widened horizons for the consumer, can go either way. The consumer can either take advantage of this and broaden their horizons, or the consumer can be bombarded with so many mediums and sources that they become overwhelmed. The consumer in themselves has great effect in this sense, which ironically contradicts the ‘technological determinism’ theory.
A total perception field is supposed to increase our information exposure,
but can it really hinder it?
The other spectrum of ‘cultural materialism’ takes most of these other factors that are disregarded by ‘technological determinism’, and puts them into play. Here political and social interests are considered as well as historical accounts.Where the “social shaping of technology” (Murphie and Potts, pp 20, 2003) explains and counters how society “plays a major part in deciding wich technologies are adopted, and how they are implemented and controlled’ (Murphie and Potts, pp 20, 2003).
Between these two frameworks I am able to understand technology’s place in not only society but culture too. By understanding the ‘cultural materialism’ framework and seeing it within today’s society, I think that it is indeed the way that technology is used that determines their cultural impact.
– Murphie, Andrew and Potts, John (2003) ‘Theoretical Frameworks’ in Culture and Technology London: Palgrave Macmillan: 11-38
– Various videos and radio recordings listened to: <http://archives.cbc.ca/arts_entertainment/media/topics/342/>
– Image supplied by <http://www.flickr.com/>