TPFH Part 2: Technology in Society and Everyday Life: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

Welcome to the Technology, Future and the Future of Humanity – distance course. Below are the readings, videos and tasks for part 2, which runs Feb 1st to March 4th.

Part 2 of Technology, Power & the Future of Humanity (online distance course) deals with historical and contemporary perspectives on technology in society and everyday life. This includes questions such as: How do historians understand technology? What drives technological development? How can we assess the importance or impact of technologies? Does technology lead to abundance or scarcity?


More at: Ecological footprint, take the quiz: and Slavery footprint:

Steve Rayner, The Flexible City: overcoming Lock-In and Path-Dependency

Course Goal from Syllabus for Part 2

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:
– analyse different views on the role of technology in society, the relationship between technology and sustainable development, and how individual human beings influence and are influenced by different technologies.


The online seminar for part 2 takes place on March 4th (or a date the same week that you agree upon within your group). Here is the seminar task for part 2 (deadline before the seminar, March 4th):

The agenda and specific questions to be discussed during the seminar will be posted on this page before the seminar on March 4th:


Nye, Technology Matters (course book):  How Do Historians Understand Technology?  | Cultural Uniformity, or Diversity? | Work: More, or Less? Better, or Worse? | Expanding Consciousness, or Encapsulation?

Cowan, R. S. (1976). The “Industrial Revolution” in the Home: Household Technology and Social Change in the 20th Century. Technology and Culture, vol 17(1).

Haraway, D. (1986).  A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century. 

Shove, E., Watson, M., & Spurling, N. (2015). Conceptualizing connections: Energy demand, infrastructures and social practices. European Journal of Social Theory, 18(3), 274–287. 

Urry, J. (2004). The “System” of Automobility. Theory, Culture & Society, 21(4-5), 25–39. 



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